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We understand and believe that – Good nutrition is the cornerstone for survival, health, and development. Health and nutrition status are important indicators of the well-being of individuals and communities. Health and nutrition care is a matter, not only of access to resources but it is also what individuals, families’ and communities’ can do for themselves.
This belief became the launch pad for our quest to improve the food, health and nutrition status of women, young people, and children.
The mission translated into action with three young charismatic women Indu Capoor, Pallavi Naik and Minaxi Shukla who embarked on a journey to chase their dream to bring change in the lives of the marginalized people.
This section will help you dive down our story, as to how we emerged as a women-led organization that has now become a model for engendering organizations.
CHETNA’s seeds were sown during the project Integrated Nutrition and Health Action Program (INHAP) funded by CARE Gujarat. Three young women shared the responsibilities of implementing the project. The team came to be known as the ‘Trio’ and the organization known as Centre for Health, Education, Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA), which emerged as an independent activity, under the umbrella of Nehru Foundation for Development.
The initial phase was action-oriented. In order to conduct meetings more effectively, which were organized all over Gujarat, resource material, was prepared in a simple language with attractive visuals. The materials were related to information about programmes and activities in Nutrition and Health.
The material produced under this program during this course of time was mass produced by the Government of Gujarat for their supplementary feeding centres all over the State.
UNICEF, Delhi approached the team to develop an educational kit on Childcare, emphasizing the Growth Monitoring, Oral rehydration, Breastfeeding, Immunisation, Family Planning & Female Education (GOBIFF) messages. CHETNA conducted extensive field testing in various districts of Uttar Pradesh. It was basically to be prepared for the Hindi speaking belt.
To demystify knowledge on health, CHETNA started developing information packages. The Bal Sevika (Child Care) kit, Anaemia and Women’s Health Kit were among the first information packages that were developed.
By August 1984, two more members, Ms. Ila Vakharia and Ms. Jyoti Gade, joined the team.
In August 1984, CHETNA received a core grant from Ford Foundation on Child Survival Project. By now, CHETNA was widely recognized as a resource centre for nutrition and health activities, especially for capacity building training and development of educational material.
A year-long participatory evaluation process, facilitated by PRIA, New Delhi during 1990 enabled reflections and widening of the perspective of CHETNA team. During this period, CHETNA formulated its vision and mission and moved from mother and child health to women’s health in a life cycle approach with a focus on Traditional Health and Healing Practices as a strategy. CHETNA has completed 38 years of journey and empowered itself with knowledge and skills related to capacity building of organizations working on the issues of women, young people and children, developing health communication material, networking and advocating for comprehensive and gender-sensitive women, young people and children’s policies and programmes. During this period CHETNA has received several awards and recognition for its work.
CHETNA advocates for people-centered policies:
Today CHETNA, by networking with other partner NGOs at the State, National and International levels, works to bring forth communities’ agenda and voices at the policy formulation and programme planning level, through consultations with community level stakeholders and civil society. CHETNA has also actively participated in the formulation of National and State level policies for women’s empowerment, youth, and children. CHETNA takes its learning and understanding to the South Asian Region through its partnerships in the region.
CHETNA has contributed in the formulation of the National Youth Policy (2014), Rajasthan State Adolescent and Youth Policy (2006), National Adolescent Health Strategy (2014), National Early Childhood Care and Education Policy (2013), National Policy for Children (2013) and National Health Policy (2018).
CHETNA has been recognized and designated as a Resource Organization:
Today geographically CHETNA works in three states of India namely Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It reaches out to more than 36 districts and blocks and over 1930 villages through a committed team of more than 80 people.
It is one of the few NGOs, which advocates for women’s right to quality and respectful maternal health services. It is a pioneer in implementing the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) in the State of Gujarat, a specially designed programme for adolescents by the Department of Health and Family Welfare. CHETNA promotes an acceptable, accessible and affordable solution to prevent and address undernutrition among children, adolescents and women. It has taken a lead to empower the community to take control over their own health and nutrition status by training the members of the Self Help Groups and members of the Panchayati Raj. CHETNA also invests efforts in strengthening the public health service delivery system by training different level of service providers.
Committed to the development of women, young people and children to take control over their own, their families’ and communities’ health and development, CHETNA continues to strive for their empowerment.
We invite you to join us in our mission of empowering marginalized communities’.