Addressing the malnutrition rates in Nepal which are among the highest in the world, the government and the UNâ€™s Food and Agriculture Organization introduced a national zero hunger challenge in December 2014, aimed at eradicating the hunger in the country within 10 years. Be that as it may, with just 10 years to accomplish the five objectives of the test, which incorporates zero hindered kids under two, the administration is setting grand objectives for itself â€“ maybe excessively elevated given the broadness of main drivers of hunger in the nation.
There are various factors which are causing the growth of malnutrition in Nepal. One reason being the lack of adequate facilities in remote areas and extreme poverty. But then again lack of food or facilities is not the only factor causing malnutrition but also due to failing to use the available food resources at an optimum level. Various food resources such as millet and buckwheat are much more nutritious than the white rice staples which is one of the basic meal existing in the country.
Also the factors contributing to malnutrition are deeply rooted in history in the form of discrimination against people of certain caste, creed and gender. People who face discrimination do not have equal access to resources and income generating opportunities, leading them to illiteracy and resulting in lack of adequate knowledge of adequate nutrition. It is known to us that even though the country is moving on towards a society free of discrimination but its perception is ever so deeply rooted in people only contributing it to grow even more.
After taking the initiative to take on the challenge of Zero Hunger, the government is not including the NGOs working on nutrition in any form of consultation. As they are an organization who have been tackling this problem since their establishment, their opinion and ideas must be considered important. Many people are unaware of the challenge and the government needs to consult with communities where malnutrition is particularly prevalent, says Rajkumar Mahato, program manager for health and nutrition at Save the Children Nepal.
Although the 24bn rupees is the estimated cost for achieving the challenge, it is not possible without a proper leadership and commitment from the government, says Pradiumna Dahal, a nutrition specialist with Unicef Nepal, adding further, â€œFunding will not be a problem, the problem will be the political leadership.
Procurements on the human right to satisfactory sustenance and nourishment in the constitution; secure area rights and center speculation on ladies agriculturists â€“ all of which she says require a high level of political commitment, says Sita Tiwari, ActionAid Nepalâ€™s food and natural resources coordinator. Though it is feasible to meet all the challenges the current political instability and lack of proper political leadership may be some of the difficulties the government needs to overcome in order to realize all the challenges.
A national action play by the end of March will be issued by the government in order to provide guidance on how each of the goals of the challenge will be met. It will compliment other campaign such as Scaling Up Nutrition which is already being implemented, and organizations like Nepal Youth Foundation which runs a nutritional rehabilitation home.
Though there are various factors like poverty, illiteracy, discrimination and political issues which come in the way of achieving the goals within 10 years, the fact that Nepal has took up the challenge to eradicate hunger shows that the country is committed towards achieving a better future for the people and the country as a whole.