a mother feeding her child during a nutrition demonstration session
“My 17-month-old daughter, Jannati, loves the handwashing process, she constantly asks me to wash her hands or tries to wash them herself when she sees any food.”- Nasima, Jannati’s mother

Jannati and her Mother's Love for Handwashing: A Journey towards Better Hygiene and Nutrition

Nasima, who resides in Dewanganj with her husband Habinur and their 17-month-old daughter Jannati, is a member of the Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) programme of the Nutrition Sensitive Value Chains (NSVC) project. The 5-year project aims to improve the nutrition of 20,000 smallholder male and female farmers and their households (HHs) in Jamalpur district, North Bangladesh. The project aims to improve nutrition through multiple pathways. The project is supported by the Australian Government through Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and implemented by World Vision Bangladesh and Unnayan Sangha, a local partner.

Nasima and her husband are small-scale farmers and lacked sufficient knowledge regarding the importance of nutritious food, proper feeding practices for children, and handwashing techniques. As a result, they were unaware of the significance of maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, providing balanced and diverse diets, utilising proper food preparation methods, and developing healthy food habits.

The project started in December 2018 and Nasima joined in January 2021 while she was pregnant. Nasima attended monthly IYCF sessions where she learned more about cooking, food storage, and preservation. As an IYCF member, she also received vegetable seeds for micronutrient gardening.

Nasima continues to attend the IYCF sessions and cooking demonstrations with her daughter Jannati. During these sessions, Nasima learned about taking proper care and nutrition during her pregnancy, attending antenatal check-ups, and taking iron tablets. She also learned to look out for danger signs during pregnancy, the benefits of hospital delivery, giving colostrum within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding, and hand washing.

After 6 months, she started giving complementary feeding to Jannati. Nasima shared her knowledge with her relatives and neighbours so that they can also follow the same practices she learned.  Jannati is so accustomed and fascinated by the hand washing process that she practices it herself. Jannati also demonstrates the steps along with her mother in the community, which encourages other children to follow.  After applying what she has learned through the project, Nasima has noticed that Jannati’s health improved due to this new awareness.

Nasima said, “I have noticed that my daughter is getting sick less often than the other community children since she began washing her hands on her own.”

Nasima is grateful to the NSVC project and hopes to spread more awareness and get more assistance towards developing health and other socio-economic development in her community.