The Sundargarh district administration has introduced two new programmes through Integrated Child Development Service( ICDS) to help enhance the nutrition of children in the tribal-dominated area.
Under the pilot project, ‘Spirulina Chikki’ and ‘Ragi Laddu’ will be distributed through the Anganwadi Centres to the children. Minister for Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti Tukuni Sahu during the launch of the programme said that “The pilot programme, financially supported by District Mineral Foundation (DMF), Sundargarh, will definitely ensure the nutritional demand of children in the area.”
More than 3,000 children through 214 Anganwadi Centers in the Hemgir block will now receive Ragi Laddus. Each child will be given four laddus per week.
Similarly, children between the ages of 6 months and three years are given spirulina sugar and children between the ages of 3 to 6 are granted spirulina chikki. Over 5,000 children will benefit from 213 Anganwadi Centers in Lephripada block.
“Spirulina and ragi are rich in nutrients. So, under this pilot program, Ragi Laddu has been introduced in Hemgiri and Spirulina Chikki in Lephripada block. It will be provided to the children through Anganwadi Centers. Thus, issues such as malnutrition, weight loss, and lack of growth in children will be addressed through proper nutrition. The program will be extended to other blocks after receiving feedback from children and their parents,” said Collector & DM Nikhil Pavan Kalyan.
Also, Odisha Government has signed an MoU with the Center for Nutrition in Mysore for technical support on Spirulina. District administration informed that after long research, spirulina had been added as a supplement to food.
The target is also to cultivate spirulina in Sundargarh in the coming days. Similarly, under Odisha Millets Mission, they are getting as many Millets (Ragi) harvest as possible in the district through TDDCOL. Women Self Help Groups are being provided with locally harvested millets to make ragi laddus.
Initially, mothers from Hemgir and Lephripara blocks, who attended the programme, were given Ragi Laddu and Spirulina Chikki. Also, the women’s SHGs in the blocks have been given the task of preparing the chikkis.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme is the world’s most extensive community-based programme. The programme is targeted at children up to the age of 6 years, pregnant and lactating mothers and women 16–44 years of age. The scheme is aimed to improve the health, nutrition and education (KAP) of the target community.