Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Dr Nahid Rashid on Monday said investing in children and women can give lifelong returns.
“Previously, there was no mention of ‘nutrition’ in the National Fisheries Policy, but thanks to Suchana we have now included nutrition in the policy revision,” she said.
Speaking as the chief guest, the Secretary said Suchana worked to address the many drivers of stunting and they need further collaboration to improve the household food security, and this requires multi de-partment collaboration.
“Government is keen to make changes in tackling poverty alleviation and the health sector, for which collaboration between government, NGOs and the private sector is very important,” she said.
Save the Children in Bangladesh has been implementing “Suchana-Ending the cycle of under-nutrition in Bangladesh” since August 2015.
After seven and half years of program implementation, Suchana will be closed by 31st December 2023.
A closing event of the project was held in Dhaka on Monday. Suchana is one of the largest food and nutrition security programs in the country led by Save the Children in Bangladesh.
The program is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and European Union (EU).
Suchana targeted 235,579 households which reached 1.4 million program participants living in the 20 upazilas and 157 unions in Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts. Suchana continued replication of best prac-tices in Sunamganj and Habiganj district.
The primary goal of Suchana was to achieve significant reduction of stunting among children under-two in Sylhet and Moulvibazar and catalyse support across government and other stakeholders for a coordi-nated, multi-sectoral approach to under nutrition at the national and sub-national levels.
Dr Shahed Rahman, Chief of Party- Suchana talked about the key achievements of the Suchana pro-gram, including inclusion of ‘nutrition’ into National Fisheries Policy (under revision); nutrition promo-tion through 4.1 million seed packets; local level budget (Union Parishad) increased in health, nutrition, and disaster risk reduction (DRR); inclusion of climate smart technology in National Adaptation Plan (2023- 2050); use of adolescent life skills, horticulture and poultry modules by GoB; and inclusion of 79,674 poor/very poor beneficiaries into social protection schemes.
Edwin Koekkoek, Team Leader, Green Inclusive Development, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh said nutrition is a multi-sectoral problem, requiring multi-stakeholder engagement.
“Food and nutrition security requires multi-stakeholder efforts to reduce under nutrition and Suchana has empowered women and girls to improve nutrition in their households and communities.”
Working in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, the Suchana consortium is led by Save the Children, and consists of seven consortium members offering a range of specialized program and tech-nical expertise: Helen Keller International (HKI), WorldFish (WF), International Development Enter-prise (iDE), Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Services (RDRS), along with research partner icddr,b.
Alex Harvey, Team Leader Climate and Environment, British High Commission Dhaka highlighted that good nutrition is fundamental for a country’s growth and is the most cost-effective effort with which there can be economic returns.