Empowering Communities: Poshan Chaupals Driving Nutrition Change in Sabarkantha, Gujarat


The Social and Behavior Change (SBC) intervention by Project Vruddhi, an initiative by Action Against Hunger, is a key pillar in strengthening the Nutrition Infrastructure in Sabarkantha, Gujarat. Through this intervention, Project Vruddhi aims to technically equip the staff of the Health and Women & Child Development Department (WCD) within the Government of Gujarat towards improved service delivery. Beyond the system-level intervention, for both direct and indirect beneficiaries at the community level, Project Vruddhi focuses on enhancing service utilization through SBC.

Solely focusing on pregnant and lactating mothers for SBC through Mother’s Meetings, organized jointly by the Health and ICDS – WCD Department staff along with the Project Vruddhi team, wasn’t enough. To build a robust support system, the inclusion of key influencers in a family – husbands, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, and other family members, as well as key community-level influencers to reinforce the messages for improved Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN), was necessary. Hence, Project Vruddhi’s team, in consultation with the Chief District Health Officer (CDHO), Sabarkantha, initiated Poshan Chaupals(Nutrition Meets).

To ensure effectiveness and engagement, the Project Vruddhi team strategically designed two strategies for the Poshan Chaupal:

  1. Involvement of community-level influencers to sensitize the communities
  2. Participation of husbands and other family members in such Chaupals

Poshan Chaupals were conceived to holistically address and improve maternal and child health and nutrition. To enhance the impact of the Chaupal, Project Vruddhi’s team takes proactive steps for community mobilization to ensure active participation of family members of pregnant women and children under 2 years of age.

The community influencers, often the Sarpanch, Panchayat member, social worker, teacher, or community leader, communicate about the prevention of maternal anemia, appropriate breastfeeding, and complementary feeding practices. Family members actively participate and recognize their roles in supporting the well-being of both mother and child, thereby creating an enabling environment that fosters better nutrition outcomes for them.

Poshan Chaupals have been organized on a monthly basis in each of the eight blocks of Sabarkantha district since September 2023.