Shima Kor struggles to ensure improved nutrition for her family

Introduction

   

20-year-old Shima Kor lives in Lalkoilas village in Osmaninagar with her husband and three children. Lalkoilas is situated on the outskirts of Osmaninagar, and Shima’s home is nestled in a remote corner, in the middle of rice fields. She lives in a small Hindu community with her family.

Shima’s husband is a support staff in the local government school, where her eldest daughter studies. The school has been closed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With no plans to open the school at any point in the foreseeable future, Shima’s husband has decided to invest in a grocery store. He invested some savings from Shima’s own income and savings, but paid for the store primarily from his own savings. Before they had the store, their livelihood was entirely dependant on her husband’s salary from the school.

While the family is content with their lot, they were unable to produce enough nutritious foods for their consumption. With their home so far from the market, they also find it difficult to purchase vegetables, eggs, and protein sources regularly too. Suchana aims to improve health and nutrition for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers through homestead food production (HFP) interventions. Shima was deemed ideal for these interventions, with three children under the age of 5 years of age.

 

 

Participation in Suchana

As a new and lactating mother, Shima was selected by Suchana field mobilisers to participate in Suchana HFP poultry intervention. With limited space in her homestead, and no pond, it was ideal for Shima to invest in chickens, so she could have easy access to eggs and meat.

Shima was eager to join Suchana in 2018 to learn more about meeting the nutritional needs of her children. She joined Suchana’s nutrition sessions, where, through cooking and feeding demonstrations, she learnt of good infant and young child feeding (ICYF) practices to avoid severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In 2018, Shima’s daughter was 4 years old and her son almost 2 years old.

Shima became pregnant with her youngest daughter Sonali in early 2020. She moved to her parents home in Moulvibazaar at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic with her older children, and returned home to Lalkoilas in October 2020. Suchana’s pregnant womens’ care training was valuable to Shima during this time. Shima ensured she ate a diversified diet during this time, and was vigilant about her antenatal care check-ups. Following Sonali’s birth, her mother ensured that she had all her vaccinations under the government’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

Shima was also given seeds, and trained on growing vegetables in sack and pit gardens.This particular horticulture technology was deemed ideal for beneficiaries with limited space in their homestead. Shima started growing a small vegetable garden, but four instances of flooding in 2020 destroyed it.

 

Support from Suchana

  • BDT 1,800 in two instalments of BDT 1,200 and BDT 600. She received BDT 1,200 to purchase 5 chickens and vaccinate them, to build hazals and low-cost portable housing suitable for poultry, and to purchase healthy feed. After her hens laid eggs, Shima received BDT 600 more to invest in any other additional materials required for their health and well-being
  • Training to build chicken homes and hazals
  • Training on the importance of vaccination and poultry healthcare
  • Support from Suchana trained vaccinators for poultry care and vaccination
  • Training on nutrition and healthcare for pregnant and lactating mothers
  • Vegetable gardening in sack and pit gardens for homesteads will limited space
  • ICYF and nutrition training, and feeding and cooking demonstrations for children, newborns, and lactating mothers
  • Training on the importance of savings • Creating, managing, and maintaining savings groups

 

Current livelihood sources

  • Her husband’s income from his job at the school
  • Family grocery store
  • Chickens she bought with Suchana’s support
  • Fruits, in the form of a banana and a hog plum tree

 

Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA)

Shima saved a small amount of money with the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). Her savings were too small for her to recall the exact amount saved.

Suchana supported the creation and maintenance of the association with some other women from Shima’s nutrition group. Shima appreciates the safety net provided by her savings, but worries that the association would not be able to manage on its own once the programme phases out of her area. She thinks that associations like this are more likely to be sustainable if managed by an impartial third party.

 

Life after Suchana

Shima’s family now has access to poultry-based protein and eggs through Suchana’s HFP poultry support. Her children’s nutritional intake has Suchana Graduation Approach Households with women and adolescent girls of reproductive age improved to a large extent, but they are still unable to access sufficient quantities of vegetables, fish, or dairy products. Shima, however, remains optimistic, and vows to rebuild her small vegetable garden as soon as the area is dry again.

Shima’s son was supposed to join school in 2020, but was unable to do so because of the pandemic, and her daughter has fallen a year behind in her education. The floods have meant that Shima’s home is often completely surrounded by water, and the family is stuck indoors.

 

Plans for the future

Shima will take over her husband’s grocery store when he is able to start work again. She wants to rebuild and grow her vegetable garden and her small poultry farm to ensure her children have access to a diversified diet. Shima dreams of one day owning a farm of her own. She is planning on taking a loan at some point to invest in agricultural lands, but has not set concrete goals for herself yet. She is now focussed on ensuring the health and well-being of her three children. She wants her children to grow up strong, intelligent, accomplished, and independent.

About Suchana

Suchana: Ending the cycle of undernutrition in Bangladesh is a multisectoral nutrition programme which aims to reduce chronic undernutrition leading to stunting among children under two years of age in 235,500 poor and very poor households in the Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts of Bangladesh.

The programme adopts an integrated approach to nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and generates a sustainable and replicable model that can be scaled. Suchana is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the EU, and is implemented by a consortium of 8 different development organisations and research agencies: Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), Helen Keller International, icddr,b, iDE, Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS), Save the Children, and WorldFish.

The consortium is led by Save the Children.

Contact us at:

suchana.bangladesh@savethechildren.org
House CWN (A) 35, Road 43, Gulshan 2, Dhaka 1212