Empowering City Dwellers Through Education about Nutritious Food

Mukta a slum dweller stirring the vegetable hotchpotch in the training in Rangpur

Food is an important part and parcel of life. Without food, we cannot imagine a single day. With “food” we not only mean calories but the nutritious food that protects and builds health. As a part of raising awareness among city dwellers on the importance of nutritious food, NICE has decided to teach and preach nutritious food cooking practices. Cooking food by retaining its nutritious value is equally important as eating. We might eat any food we like but retaining the nutritional value of the food is the most important thing. The purpose of the NICE-supported cooking demonstration is to provide practical and informative sessions with nutrition-sensitive value chains to promote safe nutritious, balanced eating and equip attendants with the knowledge to prepare nutritious meals using locally available ingredients.

In this regard, City Food System Women and Youth Groups of NICE have organized 80 cooking demonstrations in Dinajpur and Rangpur cities. Members of NICE’s 22 women and youth groups, CLMNCC members, and 40 schools in the two cities were among the key recipients of these demonstrations. Furthermore, 6 sessions were organized directly in the slums for the local vulnerable population and 10 in collaboration with selected health institutions for sensitization of community health care workers. Attendants were mainly taught how to prepare and vary nutritious Sobji Khichuri (Vegetable Hotchpotch) with eggs, as well as various other dishes like tomato sauce, tomato chutney, and bitter gourd chutney. The nutrition-sensitive value chain products (cucumber, tomato, bitter gourd, brinjal, egg, rice, mango, drumstick, pumpkin) are used to train the participants to cook food retaining the nutritional quality of the foods.

Instructors teaching the participants to cook healthy food during the training session
Mukta, slum dweller attending a cooking demonstration in Rangpur

Through this cooking demonstration campaign in the first half of 2024, NICE is trying to promote awareness for nutritious food and make nutrient-retaining cooking practices sustainable among city dwellers. With the slogan “Healthy communities, Empowered cooks”, cooking demonstration attendants are encouraged to make the dietary plan for their own family more nutritious. With 80 provided cooking demonstrations in Dinajpur and Rangpur, each of 25 attendants, over 2000 city dwellers in Dinajpur and Rangpur could profit from cooking demonstrations in the first half of 2024.

Safe vegetables bought from NICE Nutrition Farmers’ Hub and prepared for cooking