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India: Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Visit Madhya Pradesh To Learn From UN Projects

WFP India Country Director Mihoko Tamamura (third from left) with Members of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly

(Photo: WFP/Radhika Srivastava)

This is the first of its kind -- "knowledge partnership" between elected representatives of two states.

Seven Members of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly (MLA) travelled to the district of Guna in Madhya Pradesh to study UN-supported initiatives aimed at curbing malnutrition among young children and vulnerable communities.

The MLAs, all of who are members of the Women and Children’s Committee of the Rajasthan Assembly, visited a wheat flour fortification project being implemented by the WFP for members of the Sahariya tribe. They also passed by the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) and the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) at the district hospital which was being supported by Unicef.

The main purpose of the visit, which took place from November 14 to 18, was to familiarize these MLAs so that they could return to their state and push for similar projects in order to address undernutrition. The group of MLAs that included Anita Singh, Kamsa Meghwal, Anita Bhadel, Suryakanta Vyas, Promila Kundara, Ganga Devi and Gangaben Garasia  interacted with members from the Sahariya community and village flour mill owners who are an important part of this initiative. They also spent time with the parents of children admitted at the SNCU and NRC and spoke to the attending doctors.

The field trip was followed by a meeting with the Members of the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly in Bhopal where the MLAs from the two states shared their experiences and exchanged information on different government-run schemes aiming to reduce malnutrition.

Suryakanta Vyas, leader of the Rajasthan MLA group said, “We were happy to see the different initiatives in Guna. Both the states have poor people and we are committed to support them to lead healthy and productive lives.”

She said the group would recommend the Rajasthan state government to replicate some of the initiatives currently being implemented in Madhya Pradesh such as the wheat flour fortification project and the Ladli Lakshmi Yojana which aims to reduce discrimination against girls and encourages families to get their daughters educated.

The visit of the MLAs was facilitated by the Hunger and Malnutrition Cluster of a joint UN group comprising WFP, Unicef, FAO and WHO. This cluster works for advocating better nutrition among the UN priority states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.