Undernutrition in Bangladesh is estimated to be the main underlying factor in 45% of all deaths in children under five. It is one of the top thirty countries that are most affected by hunger and malnutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2019. Underlying causes of undernutrition in Bangladesh are strongly associated with lack of rights and inclusion. While availability and accessibility of nutritious and safe food at household and community level is a precondition for improved nutrition, it does not automatically lead to improved nutrition among all household members due to social barriers and inequalities.
Lack of policy implementation
Violation of child rights and mothers’ rights is recurrent and remains largely ignored on a family, community, and societal scale. In addition, there is a lack of policy implementation to the overall public health nutrition programming, resource mobilisation strategies, implementation, and financing. The key gap in the implementation process is the participation of communities as the rights-holders.
Limited opportunity for participation
The governance structure of the second National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN2) involves a body of several government institutions and INGOs providing nutrition services in emergencies. However, within this structure there is limited opportunity for participation of communities in decision making and claiming rights at national level, or even at district level.
Holding key duty-bearers to account
The key vulnerable groups in Bangladesh are children under two and under five, mothers and caregivers, people with disabilities, and those particularly vulnerable to climate change and disasters (such as flooding and cyclones). However, we more broadly aim to reach everyone in the communities, all children via schools, and local entrepreneurs: these are the rights-holders who will hold key duty-bearers such as government representatives, international development actors, and donors to account.