Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action

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Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action

Founded on the principle of “raising health for all”, SNEHA works to holistically address preventive and promotive healthcare for the urban poor, especially vulnerable women and children. It helps to strengthen the capacity of local communities to access public healthcare, while simultaneously working with public health systems to ensure that they provide quality services.

SNEHA has a “continuum of care” approach in its work with women and children in the slums and informal settlements in and around Mumbai. It supports them from the pre-natal stage up to adulthood, in order to break the inter-generational cycle of poor health. For instance, its Healthy Cities programme is one of many that educates families on planned parenthood and provides nutritional support to pregnant women and babies. SNEHA has also set up Mahila Arogya Samitis or local-level women’s groups to refer women in need to government health services.

The organisation also works with adolescents to improve their health and educate them about sex, sexuality, menstrual hygiene, gender equality and gender-based violence. It offers a series of services to tackle violence and abuse, including medical, legal and police services, sensitisation of the police and mental health support. In recent years, SNEHA has also initiated nurse-training and palliative care programmes. Since 2016, the organisation has directly benefited 3.4 lakh women, children and families. Its work has also reduced the rate of stunting among children under two by 27%.

The project supported by MFE: 

Ensuring Children’s Safety and Wellbeing ???

This three-year project focuses specifically on ensuring children’s safety in 17,534 households in Mumbai’s Govandi suburb. Govandi houses one of the largest slum areas in the city, with a densely-packed population living in extreme poverty. Rates of violence against children are also high in this neighbourhood, and SNEHA’s project aims to significantly reduce this abuse by working with parents, children and community members. By the end of the project, it wants to ensure that at least 50% of the stakeholders start practicing positive parent-child relationships.

The project work will involve raising awareness among 1,800 community members about changing social norms. For the first 18 months, it will conduct 432 home visits by health workers (24 each month) to raise this awareness. SNEHA will also establish 16 children’s groups and 16 parents’ groups, with whom it will conduct 240 educational sessions each. Parents, in particular, will be taught to integrate gender socialisation into their parenting. The target households in the project will be divided into four clusters, and SNEHA aims to train 48 volunteers in each cluster to address violence against children at the local level.

While educational interventions will focus on prevention of violence, the project also aims to provide counselling services for 5% of the children in the 17,534 households. A quarter of this 5% will receive psychological interventions with their parents, while another quarter will get help through community members. SNEHA estimates that 40% of these children will also need immediate police, legal and child welfare service intervention, which it will facilitate during the project.