Due to our extensive work done with the Jeevika technical Support Project (JTSP) of Bihar, PCI is identified as the most eligible agency to work with Self-Help Groups on health and nutrition. To utilize the team’s learnings at a national level, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported PCI to establish a Technical Assistance Unit in the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in January 2020. The aim was to strengthen the systems of DAY-NRLM to effectively layer health and nutrition interventions in self-help group platform across the country. An embedded team of experienced health and nutrition experts is placed within NRLM. The team has co-designed a Food Security, Nutrition, Health and WASH (FNHW) policy with the National Mission Management Unit. The policy is put in practice through a package of structured interventions targeted to impart selected messages to SHG women repeatedly at various touchpoints (multi-touch point approach) in order to change their behavior and practices for health and nutrition. The touchpoints are monthly meetings, village level campaigns, meeting of the federations, and home visit by a trained community cadre. Necessary audio-visual resources to build capacity of SHG women are created, tested, and digitally circulated across the country. Standard Operating Procedures to undertake core interventions in a standardized and systematic manner are shared. A set of robust indicators to monitor the progress of states is developed and incorporated into the national MIS. In addition to providing overarching support at national level for all FNHW related activities, the team works closely with State Rural Livelihoods Missions of 12 States – Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to ensure that the interventions are well intrenched in the State Annual Action Plan and dedicated budget is provided.
At the time of project commencement, 10% SHGs across the country were mobilized through the interventions. This escalated to 43% in 2022 and is likely to reach 47% in the FY 2023-24. Relevant messages are effectively reaching 1.6 crore SHG households and more. In the coming year, DAY-NRLM proposes to reach another 2 crore women. A partnership framework is in place to facilitate more partnerships between NRLM and other institutions. PCI also conducted a nation-wide assessment of women-led enterprises that can be replicated to benefit both the SHG women with income and the local communities with health services and nutritious food products.