USAID has made substantial contributions to health and nutrition in partnership with the Government of Nepal (GON) and other external development partners. As part of its strategy to strengthen the country’s health and nutrition programs, USAID, in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and relevant partners, designed the Integrated Nutrition Project --‘Suaahara’ (Good Nutrition).
Suaahara is a five-year, $46 million comprehensive community-focused project dedicated to improving the health and nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and children under two years of age, thereby directly addressing the vulnerable points of development which result in chronic undernutrition or stunting. The project focuses on improving: nutrition; maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) services; reproductive health/family planning services; water, sanitation and hygiene; and home-based gardening in 20 districts.
The project works within the government system, primarily through Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) and other community extension workers. FCHVs disseminate health messages, services and commodities at the household level and through mothers’ group discussion forums. For 20 years, the GON, other donors, and USAID have increased the knowledge and skills of this cadre of FCHV’s and their female neighbors through a family health-based curriculum. The volunteers are now building on that knowledge and developing demonstration farms encompassing poultry farming, productive sanitation, integrated pest control and nutritious vegetables.
Suaahara integrates health, nutrition, agriculture and food security activities. Complementary nutrition and hygiene education, small-scale backyard farming, and greater access to and understanding of the need for a variety of healthy foods will improve the impact of agriculture production and economic development on nutritional status in the Mid- and Far-West regions. Project approaches support the Government of Nepal’s Multisectoral Nutrition Plan 2013-17 and the Hygiene and Sanitation Master Plan 2011-2015.