The Impact of Nutrition in the Adolescent Girls Program

Written by Alexis Barab

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In the past year, 45 adolescent girls from 2 rural villages around Jamkhed have been trained in topics of health, sanitation, environment, nutrition, and kitchen garden construction and maintenance. These girls are between the ages of 10 and 18 and have been trained by CRHP’s social workers, CRHP nurses, CRHP Farmers’ Club members, CRHP Women’s Group members, as well as CRHP Demonstration Farm staff both on CRHP’s main campus as well as at CRHP’s Demonstration Farm. These girls come from families of all different religions, castes, and socioeconomic backgrounds found in the local villages.

Adolescent Girls Learning at the CRHP Farm
The girls learn about CRHP’s Vermicompost Program at the Rajanikant Arole Demonstration Farm.

Vishaka, one Adolescent Girls Program Participant this year shared her impressions of the program, “I really loved the variety of things we learned in the Adolescent Girls’ Program this year. We were able to learn with other friends the meaning of good nutrition, the importance of nutrition in health, sanitation and hygiene topics, and environmental stewardship. I especially enjoyed visiting CRHP’s demonstration farm, making reusable pads out of recycled cotton, constructing a hand washing station from cheap, local materials, and learning all about the vitamins and nutrients in my food. My friends and I will be able to implement everything we learned when we grow up, in order to make our families and communities healthy and strong. I will be able to teach my husband and children about the importance of nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene. We will keep a kitchen garden outside our house to make sure that we always have access to fresh vegetables and necessary vitamins and minerals in our diets. This kitchen garden will also save us money, as we will not have to go into town to buy expensive vegetables and fruits. In addition, we will save water and reduce the gray water around our house by using it to water our kitchen garden.”

Activities in the Adolescent Girls Program this year tried to make nutrition, sanitation, health, and environmental knowledge hands on for the participants. Farmers’ Club members taught the girls how to make tippy taps on campus, hand-washing stations made from local materials. Women from the Helping Hands Workshop taught the girls how to sew and make reusable sanitary pads with recycled cotton. CRHP nurses helped check the girls’ blood for anemia and explained the importance of iron in their diet. Science Center staff taught safe water cleaning demonstrations at CRHP’s Science Center. CRHP Demonstration Farm staff gave the girls instructional tours at CRHP campus’ demonstration kitchen gardens as well as on CRHP’s Demonstration Farm. The girls learned how to create and maintain kitchen gardens, how to take care of vegetables organically, and how to make and use vermicompost. Finally, the girls heard a personal story from the Programs’ Nutrition and Agriculture Specialist, about how proper nutrition has been an important part in her mental and physical recovery with HIV/AIDS. 

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Monica (left) and Ratna (right) answer questions about sexually transmitted diseases.

This Adolescent Girls group graduated in a ceremony on CRHP’s campus on August 2nd. Many of the girls are excited and motivated to start kitchen gardens in their own family households in the upcoming months. CRHP will continue to provide these girls with support in their efforts through the Village Health Workers and Mobile Health Team who both serve as extension services to the villages where CRHP works.

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