Suchana: Largest Food Security and Nutrition Program in Bangladesh Ends
December 4, 2023; Dhaka: Save the Children in Bangladesh has been implementing “Suchana- Ending the cycle of undernutrition in Bangladesh” since August 2015. After seven and half years of programme implementation, Suchana will be closed by 31st December 2023. A closing event of the project was held at Hotel Westin, Dhaka on Monday.Suchana is one of the largest food and nutrition security programmes in the country led by by Save the Children in Bangladesh.
Dr Nahid Rashid, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Government of Bangladesh was present at the event as Chief Guest.She said, “Investing in children and women can give lifelong returns. Previously, there was no mention on ‘nutrition’ in the National Fisheries Policy, but thanks to Suchana we have now included nutrition in the policy revision. Suchana worked to address the many drivers of stunting and we need further collaboration to improve the household food security, and this requires multi department collaboration. Government is keen to make changes in tackling poverty alleviation and health sector, for which collaboration between government, NGOs, private sector is very important”.
The programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and European Union (EU). Suchanatargeted 235,579 households which reached 1.4 million programme participants living in the 20 upazilas and 157 unions in Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts. Suchana continued replication of best practices in Sunamganj and Habiganj district.
The primary goal of Suchana was to achieve significant reduction of stunting among children under-two in Sylhet and Moulvibazar and catalyse support across government and other stakeholders for a coordinated, multi-sectoral approach to undernutrition at the national and sub-national levels. Over the period of six years, this was achieved through the delivery of a set of integrated nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions in partnership with government, NGOs, and private sector actors to enhance food and nutrition security of poor and very poor households.
Dr. Shahed Rahman, Chief of Party- Suchana talked about the key achievements of the Suchana programme, including inclusion of ‘nutrition’ into National Fisheries Policy (under revision); nutrition promotion through 4.1 million seed packets; local level budget (Union Parishad) increased in health, nutrition, and disaster risk reduction (DRR); inclusion of climate smart technology in National Adaptation Plan (2023- 2050); use of adolescent life skills, horticulture and poultry modules by GoB; and inclusion of 79,674 poor/very poor beneficiaries into social protection schemes.
Special Guests in the event includedEdwin Koekkoek, Team Leader, Green Inclusive Development, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh. He said “nutrition is a multisectoral problem, requiring multistakeholder engagement. Food and nutrition security requires multistakeholder efforts to reduce undernutrition and Suchana has empowered women and girls to improve nutrition in their households and communities. To reduce stunting, concerted efforts of multiple sectors working together in harmony. Suchana is a model of effective partnership and the results of the programme stay in the ground and also with the government ministries and departments”.
Working in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, the Suchana consortium is led by Save the Children, and consists of seven consortium members offering a range of specialized programme and technical expertise: Helen Keller International (HKI), WorldFish (WF), International Development Enterprise (iDE), Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Services (RDRS), along with research partner icddr,b.
Another special guest Alex Harvey, Team Leader Climate and Environment, British High Commission Dhaka who highlighted that “good nutrition is fundamental for a country’s growth and is the most cost-effective effort with which there can be economic returns. Undernutrition constrains social and economic gains in Bangladesh and further to this, climate change poses an additional challenge. They key now is to build upon and grow the successes of Suchana and in this endeavour, it is promising that the government departments have committed to take this forward”.