IMPAct4Nutrtion convened by UNICEF, Tata Trusts, Sight and Life, CSRBOX, CII, WeCan and NASSCOM Foundation was launched in New Delhi.
IMPAct4Nutrition is an opportunity for the private sector to be part of a large initiative that will positively impact the nutritional and health status of India. This is a platform for the private sector to actively engage and build a social movement with their employees, customers and employees’ families who form a part of their business ecosystem, and support the POSHAN Abhiyaan.
Even before the formal launch, key businesses including Bosch, Arvind Mills, Moody’s Analytics and CareNX Innovations pledged their support to the platform. This quick endorsement by the private sector is a testament to the need for actively developing engagement strategies for working with the private sector and promoting good nutrition.
Meanwhile, Tara Chand of Moody’s Analytics promised wholehearted support to the platform. “I am proud to be a part of IMPAct4Nutrition. Moody’s Analytics will support wholeheartedly this platform and see how best we can enhance nutrition literacy among our employees, partners and customers,” he said.
Opening the session, Niti Aayog Advisor, Alok Kumar, said that one-third of the children in India are growing up stunted and tackling malnutrition is a key chalenge for India. “This needs to change for a nation that is doing well in many other areas, and we need to come together to tackle the problem of malnutrition,” he said.
He said that the Government with its schemes has done a lot tp strengthen the supply side response but needs cooperation from the private sector and the civil society to address the demand side. He gave examples of “junk food” products in the market, which are available in all kinds of convenient packs. He urged the private sector to take up experimental projects to come up with similar packages and solutions for nutritious food.
“Only nine per cent of the children in the age group 6 to 24 months in our country receive adequate nutrition. Perhaps the main reason is lack of awareness around nutrition issues. This requires inducing behavioral change in a campaign mode to reach every household”, he added.
He gave an example of communities in India, where precious first milk of new mothers is offered to Gods and spilled on the floor. “We need effective communication to curtail that. We need partnerships. Corporates can bridge the gap between government and people,” Kumar added.
The launch event today heard new commitments and updates from companies, industry associations, development partners and Government of India on how to scale up nutrition and make sure that nutrition really does become everyone’s business.
Speaking at the occasion, Arjan De Waqt, OIC Deputy Representative at UNICEF India highlighted “According to the “Copenhagen Consensus” investing in nutrition is the best public health investment one can make. For every $1 of investment there is a return of $16 due to employee retention, dip in absenteeism and increased productivity. When you reach out to employees, their families and customers and empower them to improve their nutritional status, you benefit the business. Being an employer who cares by running a business that is socially aware and responsible also contributes to nation building.”
“The private sector has not only the resources, but the convening power to improve nutrition awareness in the country. After all, the private sector employs the largest share of a country’s workforce and through IMPAct4Nutrition, it can directly influence the nutritional status of its business ecosystem,” he added.
IMPAct4Nutrition will engage companies in three strategic areas, which businesses term as the ACE card and this includes assets/core business for nutrition, cash/CSR for nutrition as well as employee engagement for nutrition”.
The platform will provide educational material, program information and will be businesses link to the larger movement around POSHAN Abhiyaan. It will coordinate with, support and help in working together for a healthy India.