Early lessons from Swabhimaan: A multi sector integral health and nutrition programme for women and girls in India
Swabhimaan is a five-year initiative (2016-2021) integrated within the Government of India’s flagship poverty alleviation programme, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), across three states in India, carried out in partnership with UNICEF. The programme aims to mobilise women via village-level women’s collectives to develop and implement integrated nutrition microplans and strengthen local government services in order to improve the nutrition outcomes of women and adolescent girls. The results are presented of a midline evaluation carried out in 2018-2019 covering villages in five different sites across the three states (including 3,171 adolescent girls, 1,856 pregnant women and 3,277 mothers of children under two years of age). The results reveal strong progress in implementation with 336 village-level microplans developed, 77,000 females screened and 15,122 identified as being at nutritional risk and referred for nutrition, agriculture and social protection support. Midline results show a reduction in thinness in adolescent girls (13.8% versus 18.5% at baseline) and mothers with children under two years of age (44.6% versus 48.4% at baseline) and an increase in the average mid-upper arm circumference of pregnant women (24.0cm versus 23.5cm at baseline). Evidence also shows improved household food security and improved uptake of government health, water, sanitation and hygiene and social protection services. Results suggest that utilising and funding women’s collectives to respond to nutrition needs in their communities with integrated responses are feasible. The results of the endline evaluation and an impact evaluation will be forthcoming.