The state of Madhya Pradesh in India is largely vegetarian with limited consumption of eggs and meat.
While these dietary preferences are commonplace in other Indian states, Madhya Pradesh is facing a protein deficiency epidemic which threatens the long term health of its population.
How did it get there?
In 2015 I spent five weeks in rural and tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh evaluating the World Bank’s Madhya Pradesh District Poverty Intervention Project (MPDPIP II), with the support of the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI)
Across the 8 districts I visited, families shared how they had improved their agricultural productivity, started backyard kitchen gardening, and supplemented their income through dairy and poultry farming, collective procurement and small scale enterprises.
As I examined local village level health records, Anganwadi Center (AWC) registers, Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife (ANM) registers and Primary Health Center (PHC) documents, I noticed a reduction in severe malnutrition and severe anemia among pregnant women and under 5-year-old children.
However, this decrease did not extend to moderate or mild malnutrition and anemia.
Carbon dioxide -- the chief cause of manmade global warming -- doesn't park itself only in the atmosphere over major emitting countries. So, obviously, the response to climate change requires global action. But drought, storms, flooding, and rising sea levels demand climate adaptation tailored to circumstances that will vary by region and even locality. For example, farmers in one part of southern Zambia may have to respond with a hybrid maize seed that differs significantly from what needs to be planted in another part of that climate-besieged food bowl. The issue in southern Zambia is not just more intense drought, but how it can, and does, vary in intensity even within one region. Dry weather may be so severe in one area that farmers there may have to give up maize cultivation and plant an entirely different crop.
Such fine-tuned local adaptation can't come primarily out of ministries of the national governments of developing countries trying to cope with the mounting adverse impacts of climate change on people and resources. It requires local institutions to meet the capacity gap. But national governments aren't collaborating that closely with civil society at the community level.
This from the new book Social Dimensions of Climate Change (World Bank, 2010):
"It is unfortunate that some current approaches to adaptation planning and financing may bypass local institutions. The current push to formulate national adaptation plans of action [NAPAs] seems to have missed the opportunity to propose adaptation projects for community- and local-level public, private, or civic institutions."
On my first project visit since joining the World Bank, I had a chance to accompany the Productive Social Safety Nets project team across the country to the Fouta Djallon region, in the northern part of Guinea, for the launch of their Labor Intensive Public Works (THIMO) activities. This trip allowed me to see firsthand what extreme poverty is. You hear and read about it, but I had the opportunity to meet people who experience it every day. I say opportunity, because going through this further humbled me, gave me more determination, and added purpose to the need to tell their stories—stories of their struggles and their achievements.
Poverty affected about 55% of Guinea’s population in 2012, but this percentage is likely to have increased as a result of the Ebola crisis and economic stagnation in 2014 and 2015. Poverty in Guinea is highly concentrated in the rural areas, where the poverty headcount rate remains far higher (65% in 2012) than in urban centers (35%). The lack of infrastructure, and limited economic opportunities and access to education all create a major development issue for these areas.