Udaipur, 8 August, 2007: Gandhi Manav Kalyan Society (GMKS) in collaboration with Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) has celebrated World Breastfeeding Week from 1st to 7th August 2007. More than 15,000 people from Jhadol and Kotra blocks have received benefits from these activities carried out during the World Breastfeeding week. During these days GMKS organized couple of programmes and events to promote breastfeeding, aware mothers & communities for the benefits of breastfeeding, and these were inimitable experience for the team members of the organization as well as for the tribal communities of Southern Rajasthan.

The main focus of the WBW was to wipe out the malpractices of breastfeeding among these tribal communities as the rate of breastfeeding within 1 hour in Rajasthan is just 13.3 %, while the situation of these tribal communities is more frightening. GMKS has planned 7 days activities to promote and support breastfeeding in couple of villages of Jhadol & Kotra blocks of Udaipur district are as follows.

Mother’s Sammelan (1st August)

On August 1st, GMKS has organized Mother’s Sammelan at large scale in which more than 300 women have participated. Interestingly, most of the mothers having their babies with them while they were in the Sammelan.  The Sammelan organized at school hall of Ogna. The chief speaker & guests were representatives of ICDS and Medical & Health Department, Rajasthan. Lady supervisor, LHV, Aaganwari workers and team members of GMKS has disseminated the information on Breastfeeding; they stated the importance of first breast milk (colostrum) and also asked to stop malpractices in the communities. During the Sammelan mothers came on the stage and shared their experiences, problems associated with exclusive breastfeeding.

Mother understand that breastfeeding is must to keep Beginning to submit Petition to CM Her child healthy, Ogna- Udaipur

Mother understand that breastfeeding is must to keep Beginning to submit Petition to CM
Her child healthy, Ogna- Udaipur

Signature Campaign for mothers, fathers and youths (2nd August- Ogna)

On II day of World Breastfeeding Week, most of the volunteers of GMKS were engaged in to organize signature campaign at various places to involve all the people in the campaign of Breastfeeding to save the children, As now it was established that many babies can be saved by giving first milk to them. Signature Campaigns have been organized at prominent places of Ogna like i.e. PHC, bus stand and schools where the message on the benefits of Breastfeeding can proliferate to the larger population. Around 1500 people gave their signatures on the day.

Workshop with PRIs (3rd August – Ogna)

Panchayati Raj members play pivotal role in the development. GMKS always involve the members in all their activities. In the one day workshop on Breastfeeding with PRIs, members of 5 Panchyats have participated.  The chief guest & speakers on the event were Mr Subrata Dutta (BPNI, New Delhi), Mr Shanker Lal Kharadi (Pradhan) and Rami bai (Sarpanch – Kada). Around 110 Sarpanch, up Sarpanch and ward Panch have participated in the event.

It was the first experience for all of them to participate in such event while Mr Subrata from BPNI has shared his experiences, Indian scenario on Breastfeeding and its importance. All the members have pleased to know about gathering such importance information & knowledge on Breastfeeding. Mr Shanker Lal ji has also shared about the existing myths & misconception among the communities as well as he shared about the different schemes of Government for the region which are such useful for the people living in penury.

Essay Competition with School Children (4th August)

In order to aware and sensitize children & youth on importance of Breastfeeding, GMKS organized essay competition at 3 schools in Ogna, Gejvi and Samija villages. More than 50 children have participated in the competition. The topic of the Essay was importance of Breastfeeding. In every school, a competition has organized for around half an hour with the support of principal and school teachers.  Three winners from each school were selected on the basis of marks obtained by them for best essay writing. After the Essay competition, all the school children, teachers and GMKS staff gathered at platform and shared the importance of breastfeeding and our team has also stated the role of youth to support breastfeeding and ensure that these youth members will disseminate the information among their family members and other villagers to save the babies of their region.

Bike Rally – (5th August)

Breastfeeding: the 1st hour – Save ONE Million babies, the voice raised by the volunteers of GMKS and youth members during the BIKE Rally organized on 5th Day of World Breastfeeding week 2007. More than 40 volunteers and youth wearing cap & T- shirt have started their rally form village Vas that ended at Gamri village. They covered more than 25 villages and 100 KM of distance.

While passing away from the villages they informed all the mothers, fathers, youths, adolescent girls & boys on importance of first breast milk and support mothers to breastfeed their children. The information on importance of breastfeeding disseminated among thousand of people of these 25 villages of both Jhadol & Kotra blocks.

Signature Campaign -5 Panchyats (6th August)

In the series of campaigns & activities, Signature Campaigns have been arranged in all 5 Panchyat of GMKS Project villages i.e. Gejvi, Samija, Ogna and Atatiya. The signature campaigns had put a mark of around 3500 signatures collection of various communities from all the villages.

Closing Ceremony – (7th August) 

At the end of World Breastfeeding week 2007, closing ceremony has been arranged at GMKS – Ogna office on 7th August. All the staff and volunteers of GMKS have participated in the meeting. The purpose of the closing ceremony was to enjoy the success of WBW activities at grass-root level, finding the gaps and draw an action plan to tackle up the issue in the activities of child Rights & health Program.

All the staff and members felt that such kind of events is the best medium to disseminate the knowledge & information at grass-root level on Breastfeeding importance for the child.