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SPRING/Bangladesh and SHIKHA Formalize Collaboration for Improved Dietary Diversity

Left to Right: Kathrin Tegenfeldt, Country Director FHI360/Bangladesh and Acting COP for SHIKHA, Aaron Hawkins, COP SPRING/Bangladesh, and Dr. Iftekhar Rashid, Nutrition Specialist USAID/Bangladesh

Through a “seeds hand-over” ceremony on Sunday, May 24, 2015, the USAID-funded SPRING and SHIKHA projects formalized their letter of collaboration (LOC) committing them to work together to ensure that important information on dietary diversity reaches as many people as possible. Both projects are working closely with the government of Bangladesh to help improve the health and nutrition of mothers and children through support to government and direct interventions aimed at tackling important nutrition issues such as stunting, anemia, and wasting. As part of the LOC, SPRING will provide the SHIKHA project with seeds and trainings on growing nutritious vegetables and improved agriculture technologies. The seeds will be given to selected beneficiaries across 16 upazilas and 3 districts in Barisal division. Approximately 100 learning plots will be established with a number of highly-nutritious crops such as kang kong, Indian spinach, and green amaranth, among other varieties.

The chiefs of party for these two projects, Ms. Kathrin Tegenfeldt for SHIKHA and Mr. Aaron Hawkins for SPRING, held the seed hand-over ceremony in Bhola Sadar in the presence of USAID and other stakeholders. The projects will work closely in the coming weeks to ensure that all necessary trainings are completed and that the seeds are planted according to the best practices promoted by SPRING in its Farmer Nutrition Schools.

This is not the first time that these two projects have collaborated. The SPRING and SHIKHA projects are also partnering through the SHIKHA-led Media Dark Campaign, an important effort to reach ‘media dark’ areas of rural Bangladesh with crucial information on health and nutrition. SPRING is one of a number of projects providing technical support and input on this important rural health initiative.