NGOs recognized for contribution to child health

Child Health National experts deliberate on interventions for promoting child health in India.

Six NGOs from across the country were to recognized for their exemplary work in the Nutrition, Education, Hygiene, Physical Environment and Psycho-Social Environment at the inaugural Lifebuoy National Child Health Symposium held today in New Delhi.

The winners were chosen by an eminent advisory board from a pool of 119 entries received from across the country. The award application process was facilitated by and the award selection process was validated by IMRB.

The award winners of the Lifebuoy National Child Health Awards, across categories are:


1)Winner: Humana People to People India

For:Exemplary work in promoting Hygiene

Profile:The problem of school sanitation in Uttar Pradesh cannot be solved without the active participation of the community. The School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE) project was designed to touch school children by forming Child Cabinets. Post implementation by Humana, the Child Cabinet members – students 8 to 12 years old –have assumed and divided tasks related to their own development. This concept has provided responsibility to the students to participate and monitor various student centered activities like taking care of cleanliness in the school campus, assuring water availability, conducting sports & games, practicing gardening and maintenance etc.

The parents and teachers have now been helped form Parents’-Teacher Association (PTA) and Mother-Teacher Association (MTA) who now meet among themselves and with students frequently to discuss relevant issues increasing parents’ participation and better understanding and deliverance of service from the teachers’ side. The health camps and issuance of health cards is moving towards better and regulated child health diagnosis and care providence which, in coming days will cover each and every student under the program.

2) First runner-up:I-India

For:Exemplary work in promoting Hygiene

Profile: The Pink city Jaipur is capital of Rajasthan- a state of desert. Consequently, people face water scarcity, especially in the street, slum and pavement area where people live in poor conditions. I-India’s project aims at providing hygiene and sanitation facilities among destitute children living at critical surroundings. The concept comprises a shower bus facilitated with all health & personal hygiene services, which moves covering streets, slum areas, railway stations etc. to deliver on spot sanitation & health services. It also provides safe drinking water to poor children.

3) Second runner-up: Rural Volunteers Centre

For:Exemplary work in promoting Hygiene

Profile: A community based, community owned self-sustaining health volunteer’s network is in place to safeguard right to hygienic living environment of children in particular and flood community in general in flood plains of Brahmaputra River Basin. Project aims to address the health and hygiene concerns of the flood vulnerable children in general and overall flood affected population in general.

Community Health Volunteers (Barefoot Doctors) is an innovative one because it is community based and community owned “hygiene focused health mechanism” with special focus on Children and women. Provisions for providing round- the- clock services (preventive, remedial and referral) with strong back-up support mechanism to the people in distress round the year have made it unique. The hygiene promotion part amongst the children is almost “Zero budgeted” because the CHVs use the existing Government platforms viz. Anganwadi Centres, Village Health and Nutrition Days, ASHA workers, Schools as well as social structures like Women SHGs etc.


1) Winner: Akshaya Patra Foundation

For:Exemplary work in promoting Nutrition

Profile: With the vision that ‘no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, Akshaya Patra is the largest NGO managed mid-day meal programme in the world. Pioneering a technology-driven operating model, this has been a success in terms of its reach-out, scalability and replicability. What started as a one man initiative of serving 1,500 children in Bangalore, India has become an exemplary model to the country reaching out to more than 1 million children every day in a span of 10 years. This model is easily replicable in other parts of the world.

2) First runner-up: ISKCON Food Relief Foundation

For:Exemplary work in promoting Nutrition

Profile: ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (“IFRF”, the “Trust” or “We”) was formed under the auspices of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (“ISKCON”) with the twin objectives of eradicating hunger and promoting education amongst the under-privileged sections of the society and thereby ensuring their socio-economic development. Their service or “seva” is to prepare the Mid Day Meal in our center. The meals are then packed and sealed in specially designed stainless steel containers and are transported in dedicated vehicles to the schools where they are served to the children during their lunch hour.

3) Second runner-up: Mahaan

For:Exemplary work in promoting Nutrition

Profile: Mahaan aims to reduce the prevalence of severe malnutrition (Grade 3 & 4) (under 5 children) from 9.8% (year 2004) to 6.5% (reduction by at least 35%) in usual residents population of 14000 (from) 16 villages in tribal area of Melghat) over a period of 3 years. They are working towards reducing the death of the children (in the age of group of 6 months to 5 years) due to severe protein energy malnutrition in tribal area of Melghat by 35% in usual residents population of 17000 (from 16 villages) over a period of 3 years.

Physical environment

1) Winner: ExNoRa International

For:Exemplary work in promoting Physical Environment 

ExNoRa is a voluntary organisation based in Chennai which has programs all over India. It was started with an aim of getting the majority of the disinterested population interested in environmental issues and solving problems through collective effort. An initiative, STEP was started in 1994 with the aim of involving school students in maintaining and cleaning streets around their school. This was the time ExNoRa was focusing on solid waste management and STEP followed this Solid Waste Management model. The students went door to door and encouraged participation of residents in the program.

The students met once a month with the teacher in-charge. They worked on an activity-book designed on a do-and-learn basis, divided into modules, each dealing with a different aspect of urban pollution. ExNoRa also involved students in coming up with a database on water pollution in its three waterways. The students used a specially designed portable water monitoring kit to periodically test the water. It was then that ExNoRa introduced its yearly trekking program through the launch of its auxiliary - ExNoRa Naturalists' Club. The program has grown in many ways since then.

2) First runner-up: V-EXCEL

For:Exemplary work in promoting Physical Environment

Profile:Their aim is to ensure neuro-sensory development, functional independence, and social development of young special children, as impairment in any of these areas can inhibit their normal growth and learning process, affecting their entire lifetime.V-Excel, typically have a time-bound program where our goal is to close the gap between the expected and actual response pattern to various sensory stimuli for facilitating learning of different tasks and skills.

3) Second runner-up: Fluorisis Rsearch

For:Exemplary work in promoting Physical Environment 

Profile: The prevalence of Dental Fluorosis in school children and the fluoride content of drinking water of the children both at home and school were the entry point for Flurosis, for identifying the endemic villages in Palam zone for a community based study.

The major focus was on Fluoride in drinking water arising from earth’s crust and whether it has caused Dental Fluorosis, an overtly visible discolouration in the teeth; which is only an indication of other major health setbacks in children. Adults were also scrutinized for introducing beneficial interventions. The results obtained from the school children and preventive strategies adopted in terms of provision of safe water and education on improving diet with essential nutrients were beneficial, informative and educational for children as well as Teachers.

Psychological environment

1) Winner: Odanadi Seva Samsthe

For:Exemplary work in promoting Psychological Environment

Profile: Odanadi believes in working through people’s movements for social change. Especially, it is trying to combat Human trafficking through Prevention, Rescue operations, rehabilitation and reintegration measures. Odanadi, stands as an organization with widespread acknowledgement and acclaim as one that has made global impact through effective local interventions and planned advocacy initiatives. Use of various social intervention tools and psychological methods of action is the hallmark of Odanadi’s efforts.

Today, the psycho-social therapy intervention mode of counseling at Odanadi has come to be accepted as a model within and outside the country. For minors and children, Odanadi is a vehicle of love, care and concern - the proverbial guardian making childhood a reality to many who had lost them. The Prayogapatha Centre, run by Odanadi at Mysore, is currently home for 86 minors. Odanadi also operates 'Madilu', a Rehabilitation Centre for Rescued Victims.

2) First runner-up: Arpan

For:Exemplary work in promoting Psychological Environment

Profile:Arpan empowers children themselves, to be able to protect themselves from sexual abuse rather than depend on other stakeholders like parents and teachers who are often not around. It is then left to the child to be able to protect him/herself.

3) Second runner-up: Nice Foundation

For:Exemplary work in promoting Pyschological Environment

Profile: NICE believes in innovating low cost, replicable, and effective programs for the benefit of the community. Nice Foundation is a registered voluntary, non-profit and multidimensional civil society organization subsists for the advancement and sustainability of every individual and every community in penury. They are committed for the integrated sustainable development of India. Nice foundation is an equal opportunity organization with legal certification as an NGO. They are dedicated to develop a transparent, democratic and systematic form of functioning among people's organizations and non-governmental organizations, to ensure their services are appropriate for the people, in their need, on time.


1) Winner: Saharsh

For:Exemplary work in promoting Education

Profile:Saharsh is a dream. A dream to see the less privileged children of society educated. Education, they believe, is not just being literate but it involves the learning and knowledge that every kid gains in the process.

2) First runner-up: Creda

For:Exemplary work in promoting Education

Profile: CREDA believes that child labour causes poverty and therefore if poverty alleviation has to be addressed, the issue of child labour has to be tackled. For this purpose parents, children, employers, panchayat leaders and other stakeholders including the government officials need to be sensitized and involved.

CREDA's experience in this space has shown that if adequate opportunities are provided to working children and potential child labourers to go to school, children will not go to work.

3) Second runner-up: Mahita

For:Exemplary work in promoting Education 

Profile: Mahita’s interventions include facilitation of the educational and protecting rights of girl children in the project areas and advocating for effective implementation of the programs. The organisations approach is to develop neighbourhoods by addressing issues between the child and the community, and the socio-economic conditions that force children, especially girls, to drop out of school and enter the work force.

Mahita’s programs therefore target not only the child, but also include the parents as well as the community at large. As a result of linking up the parents with the program’s ownership, the interventions involve children, their parents and regions leaders of the community for facilitating the rights of the children.

The National Child Health Award: MV Foundation

In addition to these category awards, a special award was also presented to M V Foundation for their which has done outstanding work in all areas of child development.MV Foundation has been addressing the issues of protecting children’s rights in the state of Andhra Pradesh in partnership with community for a decade and a half now. This intervention is targeted at children aged 0-18 years and focuses mainly on their rights to education, health and food security.

Presenting the awards, Mr. Sudhanshu Vats, Vice President, Home Care & Skin Cleansing, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. said, “It gives us great pleasure to recognise the efforts of the NGOs who have done such wonderful work. Their attempt to make a difference to the quality of life of the children they touch is truly commendable. Our attempt is to bring forth these different areas of excellence onto one platform, the Lifebuoy National Child Health Awards”.

The awards were part of a one-day national symposium organized by Lifebuoy, India’s leading health and hygiene soap brand from Hindustan Unilever. The symposium was inaugurated by Ms K Sujatha Rao, The Secretary, Department of AIDS Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Director General NACO, Govt. of India and Mr. Nitin Paranjpe, CEO, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

Speaking on the occasion Ms K Sujatha Rao said, “This is an interesting and important initiative that Lifebuoy has taken. It is heartening to see prominent institutions such as NIMHANS and others participating in the symposium. Such partnerships are valuable to the cause. The endeavor to provide a healthy and enabling environment to our children so that they realize their full potential will contribute significantly to ensuring that we as a country actually reap the demographic dividend.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nitin Paranjpe said, “Through the Lifebuoy Symposium we hope to make a contribution, in our own small way, by bringing multi-functional experts,practitioners and policy-makerstogether on one platform for a better understanding of child health and towards formulating interventions needed to make a positive and sustainable impact on child health. The most important and pressing task for us a country today is to invest behind the health and education of our children.”

5 Key factors influencing child health

The symposium focused on 5 key factors influencing child health – Nutrition, Hygiene, Education, Physical Environment and Socio-Psychological Environment, with focus on interventions that can be put in place and implemented easily by teachers in schools andby parents at home towards improving child health on a sustainable basis.

Each of the sessions were Chaired by different subject experts. The Nutrition session was chaired by Dr. Swati Bhave, Executive Director, AACCI and the Education session was chaired by Ms. Saroj Bala Yadav, National Council of Education Research Training, the Hygiene session was chaired by Mr. Sudhanshu Vats, Vice President, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., The session on physical environment was chaired by Dr. Y.L. Tekhre, National Institute of Health & Family Welfare, and the session on Socio-Psychological Environment was chaired by Dr. Shekhar Sheshadri, NIMHANS.

More than 100 professionals, including academics and representatives from leading NGOs such as Care India, Navjyoti Foundation, USAID and WASH among others participated in the symposium. They deliberated on the various interventions required in each of the five focus areas. The symposium ended with a Recommendation Group on each subject drawing up conclusions and putting forth suggestions for parents, schools, community and the government. The various Recommendation Groups unanimously endorsed the need for strengthening early childhood programmes and research as an effective means to improve child health.

Advisory board

The Symposium advisory board comprises ofDr. D. Nagaraja, Director & Vice Chancellor, National Institute of Mental Health And Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Dr. B. Sesikeran, Director National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Ms Ranjana Saikia, Associate Director, Social Transformation Division, Mr. Sudhanshu Vats, Vice President Home Care and Personal Wash, HUL, Dr. Swati Y. Bhave, Executive Director, Association of Adolescent Child Care in India (AACCI).

About Lifebuoy:

The Lifebuoy National Child Health Awards are being instituted by India’s leading health and hygiene soap brand Lifebuoy. A Hindustan Unilever Limited brand, Lifebuoy, has been synonymous with health and hygiene since it first landed on Indian shores in 1895 at Bombay harbour. It has been spreading the message of health and hygiene for the last 100 years, and over 70% of India has used Lifebuoy at least once a year. The famous Lifebuoy jingle “Tandurusti ki raksha karta hai Lifebuoy, Lifebuoy hai jahan tandurusti hai wahan” is like the health anthem of India and Indians.

Lifebuoy lives its vision “Making a billion Indians feel safe and secure by meeting all their health and hygiene needs.” Lifebuoy’s Swasthya Chetna is the single largest rural health and hygiene educational programme ever undertaken in India. Its objective is to educate people about basic hygienic habits, including washing hands with soap. Having started in 2002, the project has touched 50,676 villages across 9 states of India, impacting the lives of over 12 crore people. In the year 2006, the Indian Postal Department released a special Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna Postal Cover in recognition of this humungous effort.

The Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna 2007- Your City is Callingwas the brand’s first steps into Urban India, to create awareness about Cleanliness and hence health & hygiene in urban India. It was sharpened into the Lifebuoy Child Health Quotient 2009. The Lifebuoy CHQ, a perception study amongst mothers across 17 cities, probed on what they believe are the parameters that gauge their child’s health and what factors they believe affect it within their city.

The initiative of conducting the National Child Health Symposium stems from the top factors that mothers believe affect their child’s health. This also led to the idea of launching the first ever National Child Health Awards for those working in the field of child health to recognise their exemplary efforts. With the institution of these awards, the brand takes yet another step in the direction of novel health initiatives.

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B. D. Sawant Marg,
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Mumbai - 400 099.

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