How can we make Nepal strong?
The answers could be many, one among them is through uplifting the nutritional status of Nepali.
Nepal where, one third of the under 5 children are stunted, one in every 10 children are wasted and four in 10 reproductive aged women are suffering from anemia, is losing 2-3 percent of its GDP every year accounting to malnutrition and undernutrition. The Government of Nepal has implemented Multi-sector Nutrition Plan II (MSNP II) with the goal to improve maternal, adolescent and child nutrition through scaling-up nutrition specific, sensitive and creating an enabling environment for nutrition.
Baliyo Nepal Nutrition Initiative (BNNI) is a not-for-profit organization governed by an independent board of trusted members from Nepali civil society. BNNI has been carrying forward nutrition movement through interventions that contribute to the nutrition improvement of Nepali people through (i) food fortification, (ii) awareness, (iii) sports and (iv) livelihood promotion.
Baliyo Nepal Nutrition Initiative (BNNI) launched a national campaign named Baliyo Nepal Movement, to complement the MSNP goals in tackling malnutrition and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of reducing stunting to 15% by 2030 through collective commitment from across diverse sectors including private sectors, civil societies, academia and the people of Nepal.
The long term of vision of the organization is to support Nepal in reducing its chronic malnutrition (stunting) as per the national SDG & MSNP goals and enable the environment to win the World Cup Cricket by 2039 A.D.
Partnership in the Baliyo Nepal Movement
BNNI works with the private sectors (food industry) to increase the supply of affordable and fortified, nutritious food. It also works to generate demand for more nutritious food by building a movement through social marketing and behavior change interventions collaborating with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sectors, civil society along with dignified national personalities to engage every Nepali people in the movement through mass media and awareness campaign.
BNNI also works in collaboration with SUN Business Network, a global platform for business and nutrition, which mobilizes business to act, invest and innovate in responsible and sustainable actions to improve the consumption of nutritious and safe food in emerging markets.
Until now, BNNI has been working with 4 major food/egg producing companies which have been very supportive to the cause of malnutrition as well as making impact upon the availability of high quality nutritious, fortified and affordable foods (complementary fortified porridge and eggs) by ensuring its production and distribution.
Non-food producing companies are also supporting the movement by helping BNNI deliver and spread nutrition messages as well as contributing to the movement’s activities.
Complementary Fortified Porridge (CFPs); is a fortified complementary food for children 6-23 months of age, available in a sachet of 25 gram. A single sachet of fortified porridge serves the 30% of Reference Nutrient Intake (micronutrient) to the children aged 6-23 months of age. Baliyo Nepal follows the Australian Government’s Health Star Rating system and require all products to have a 3-star rating or higher.
Egg is considered as a complete food and provides almost all the nutrients required for the physical and cognitive development of the child. It is convenient to prepare and can be consumed by all age group. The demand of the eggs is high in the market; however, the supply chain has not been able to meet the overall demand. BNNI has partnered with two major eggs producer companies of Nepal so as to increase the availability of eggs in the market.
BNNI aims to introduce more of such fortified foods for older children, pregnant and lactating mothers and as well as adolescents adding more food products under its innovative market intervention programs in the Phase II of the Baliyo Nepal Movement.
In the 1st phase of the Baliyo Nepal Movement, awareness programs were conducted at various communities of Lumbini province, where 426 Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) were oriented on story telling skills on fortified foods, 1260 school students were engaged via nutrition and cricket club, having various touchpoints such as schools, Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs), message carriers of health and nutrition at the local level) and at retail shops. Baliyo Nepal Cup, a young talent development program was organized with the prime objective of promoting grass root cricket and to set up an interlink between sports and nutrition.
BNNI during COVID-19
Along with its regular program, BNNI was also engaged in humanitarian activities. During pandemic, BNNI partnered with public and private organizations to implement a “Nutrition Assistance Program” that offered fortified complementary foods to more than 20,000 children aged 6-23 months in twelve municipalities of Lumbini Province.
To scale up the movement, BNNI has expended the Baliyo Nepal movement across four other provinces of the country viz. Province 1, Madhes Province, Bagmati Province and Gandaki Province along with the existing Lumbini Province since 2021.
BNNI plans to deliver one-on-one orientation to shopkeepers and branding shops as ‘Baliyo Shops’ placing Baliyo Nepal visibility materials at the shops, where fortified foods with Baliyo Nepal logo are available, reaching the major retail outlets in all 5 provinces. Along with the shop branding and orientation awareness messages will be disseminated through different media using the national radio networks, social media platforms, presence in print and broadcast media reaching the audiences of all over Nepal.
BNNI other programs include Baliyo Nepal Cup and young talent development program to uplift the grassroot cricket of Nepal partnering with Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and leading cricket academies from across five provinces. BNNI also aims to empower women entrepreneurs delivering them training and financial literacy awareness programs in partnership with Agro institutions and financial institutions under the Baliyo Mahila program.
BNNI believes its program will be a successful pursuit for it stands on a strong base of partnership and collaboration, the movement will self-sustain over time. It will pivot the learnings through continuous measurement and assessment of the reach of its interventions and cater to bring changes in purchasing practices and consumption of nutritious foods among Nepali people. While, it is challenging to extrapolate long-term changes in nutritional impact the initial measures will certainly indicate whether and if yes, how are Nepali people changing their mindsets and practices on nutrition.
BNNI calls upon all the individuals and organization, especially the private sector, to participate in the Baliyo Nepal Movement, so as to improve behavioral changes in the consumption of nutritious and fortified foods among Nepali people and ensure their availability in the market, thereby contributing to the development of a self-reliant campaign against malnutrition.