In 2009, World Renew received a five-year grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to work with its partners in Bangladesh to address malnutrition. The program focused on decreasing infant mortality rates by monitoring the growth of children under the age of five, and training birth attendants and community health volunteer training. The project also encouraged vaccinations, and provided training on hygiene, nutrition, and safe water.
In 2014, World Renew took what it had learned in the previous five years and expanded the program into the sub-district of Durgapur, Bangladesh by using funding from our Canadian Foodgrains Bank Account.
Durgapur is home to approximately 200,000 people. The project strives to improve the health of babies by targeting their nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life (from conception to their second birthday). Lack of proper care during this time places a child at risk of stunted growth, disease, and even death. It can also impact a child’s development, health, and income-potential for the rest of his or her life.
Through World Renew’s longtime local partner, PARI, traditional birth attendants and community health volunteers are trained to walk alongside mothers and their children during and after pregnancy to mentor them in how to keep their children healthy. Health Volunteers visit all Durgapur families with pregnant women and children from newborns to age tow, on a monthly basis. This helps them follow up on important nutrition practices being followed that were shared in the last visit, and also to provide new coaching according to the age and stage of the baby.
In addition to monthly monitoring of children’s height and weight, the project teaches women about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and about complementary feeding to help the baby meet the World Health Organization’s standards of an ‘acceptable diet’.