INDU CAPOOR

India,

In 1992 Indu Capoor started Centre for Health Education Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA) in Ahmedabad. CHETNA works to promote the health, rights and empowerment of women, girls, children, youth and rural women, children and youth.

This profile below was prepared when Indu Capoor was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.

Fellow Sketch

In 1980, Indu Capoor, a trained nutritionist, started the Centre for Health, Education. Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA) in Ahmedabad, India. CHETNA works towards creating an equitable society where women from disadvantagedcommunities are empowered to live healthy lives through a holistic life-cycle approach.

The life cycle approach looks atthe full life of a woman, from before conception to death, and examines interconnected issues women face during each life stage. By using this comprehensive life cycle approach of advocacy, CHETNA is able to bridge the gap betweenpolicies and the people empowering communities. 

CHETNA’s strength lies in its recognition of the social determinants of health and the impact of gender integrating these in all its approaches.. In consultations to determine various government policies and programmes, Indu and her team,by reviewing drafts and ensuring feedback by marginalized communities who are likely to be affected by those policies, make these policies more inclusive and actionable.

In order to improve food and nutrition security throughout the country, Indu's team at CHETNA supports Government and Non­Government Organizations through sensitizing and building capacities of nutritionhealth,education/ practitioners/ frontline service providers/ supervisors/ community stakeholders. The objectives of these trainings also include valuing  the girl child, improving the sex ratio, maternal and newborn health and comprehensive development of adolescents and youth. This comprehensive training enables other non-profit organisations to implement their programmes related to children, young people and women from a holistic and gender perspective and advocate for people ­centred policies.

In addition, by examining, documenting, sharing and building on field tested models, CHETNA  Outreach  envisages to workwith multiple stakeholders across sectors to share, document, debate and dialogue on the best ways to scale up evidence based approaches at the state, national and international levels. To ensure synergy and advocacy for evidence­based approaches,products and publications, CHETNA forges partnerships with a wide spectrum of stakeholders like other NGOs, corporates and the media.

Under Indu’s leadership, within public policy, CHETNA has contributed in design and release of  the National Policy for Children,National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy drafted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD),Government of India (GOI).  CHETNA has also contributed to the National Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health  Strategy,National Youth Policy, and Gender policy for the Government of Gujarat through holding consultations with youth from themost marginalized communities. Indu believes that policies are generally made through academic consultation, disconnected fromthe ground realities, but CHETNA is determined to change that reality by bringing in voices of disadvantaged communities into the debate.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

In 1992 Indu Capoor started Centre for Health Education Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA) in Ahmedabad. CHETNA works to promote the health, rights and empowerment of women, girls, children, youth and rural women, children and youth.




THE NEW IDEA

For there to be improvement in nutrition, there must be a complete convergence of knowledge, policy and economics. Until this happens, conditions for women and children will not improve.

The traditional foods which were very nutritious have been replaced and forgotten for cash crops that do not have much nutritious value. A woman’s education and social status is critical to nutrition of a family and herself. To improve nutrition, women’s literacy must be improved.




THE PROBLEM




THE STRATEGY

Indu Capoor has created a full support and change making organization CHETNA. Primarily the organization provides support - medical care and advice, advocacy for women and children, and education, for men and women about the importance of understanding the unique health needs of women. As well as direct intervention and programs, CHETNA conducts regular studies on the health of women, especially rural women, so as to have data to create both policy and social change. They have also published many interactive forms of nutrition education such as booklets, flip cards, audio/visual material and pamphlets.

With Indu’s efforts, women are now taking control of their own health, delaying marriage, and when possible delaying first birth. Furthermore, CHETNA has been garnering the trust of local women because they are able to share information on nutrition and their bodies that not even the local doctors know. Additionally, the research conducted by CHETNA has become the basis of their advocacy. April 11th has now been declared Safe Motherhood Day. Hopefully this will help to bring awareness to the fact that so many mothers, especially in rural areas die to childbirth unnecessarily. To learn more about CHETNA, please click here.




THE PERSON