According to UNICEF, nearly half of deaths among children under 5 are related to undernutrition, and India accounts for one third of the malnourished children in the world. Over the summer, the GESI team collected and analyzed data from four neighboring villages. Mothers and other community representatives were interviewed regarding breastfeeding habits, hygiene, knowledge of health resources, and other daily habits. In addition, children’s mid-upper arm circumferences (MUAC) were recorded. The data revealed that the level of pre- and post-natal health education and accessibility was a primary reason for malnourishment among children aged 0-5 in these rural communities.
Based on these results, the GESI team formatted and presented several projects for Seva Mandir, a local NGO that works on various rural and tribal development issues in Rahjastan, for future implementation. Together with the organization, the team suggested three different programs to improve early childhood nutrition in the region, including an educational program that targets proper breastfeeding and pre-natal dietary habits, a “Bring it Back” program that encourages men who work in the city to bring back fruits and vegetables to the community on their return, and a seeding program to introduce new crops to the villages for a more balanced diet.