Dinajpur, Bangladesh

Dinajpur is located ca. 400 km North-West of Dhaka and has a population of about 300,000 inhabitants (2021) living on 24.5 km2. At least 45,000 of the city dwellers live in one of the city’s 69 slums.

In June 2021, a team of experienced enumerators visited 307 households in both the slum (156) and the non-slum (151) area of Dinajpur to collect information on the nutritional status, socio-economic information and consumption behavior of the city population. This survey revealed food insecurity in the majority (54.1%) of the visited households in Dinajpur, which increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 16.0% of the children under 5 years were too short for their age and therefore stunted, and 18.0% were underweight. Furthermore, 48.7% of women and 34.7% of men were overweight. Many women did not consume an adequately diverse diet (29.1% consumed less than 5 food groups in the previous 24 hours). All this indicates the kind of obstacles faced by the urban population of Dinajpur to access a diverse and nutritious diet, with likely negative effects on their longer-term health. On the other hand, many of the urban and peri-urban households owned farmland, overall 69%. This provides an opportunity for NICE activities to assist in an increase and diversification of locally and agroecologically produced nutritious foods and in making them more accessible for the city population, including vulnerable city population groups. The Municipality of Dinajpur partners with the NICE consortium for this project.