The introduction of digital training and portable tablets for the cookcumhelpers who operate PM POSHAN is a case in point. Most of them—90%—are female.About three million cookcumhelpers are essential to the program’s ability to prepare and deliver hot, prepared meals to millions of pupils. Food safety and nutritional enhancement via the midday meals programme are intricately connected. When unsafe food is offered to schoolchildren, it has the potential to start a vicious cycle of illness and starvation.
In collaboration with the governments of Rajasthan and Odisha, the World Food Programme (WFP) has introduced mobile tablets as well as technology-based training modules housed in an application to increase community capacity in ensuring that proper hygienic and safety procedures are followed so that children can benefit fully from the nutrition that these school lunches provide. Any Android smartphone may utilise the FoSafMDM app, which is accessible via the Google Play Store.The campaign has given women’s perceptions of and performance in their positions as nutrition advocates new life and confidence by combining access to a digital device, digital literacy, and community ownership.
Digital literacy is one of the keys to reaching this goal, which will assist millions of people escape poverty and food insecurity. This improves financial inclusion and makes way for possible new sources of income. Communities that lack access to digital services and opportunities are where we witness this transition. According to the National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS 5), metropolitan regions in India had 54% anaemic mothers and 64% anaemic children.
Over 70% of the women in a WFP pilot programme for financial and digital literacy among low-income groups in Delhi’s urban slums expressed a desire to learn new skills. The majority were aware of how digital platforms may be used to launch enterprises and increase household income. Few urban poor women in Delhi who participated in a WFP needs assessment have a bank account. Several people had cellphones, but they needed assistance from their families to utilise them. Nonetheless, women were eager to learn because they understood how financial and digital literacy might help them grow their enterprises and incomes.
The women taking part in the programme declared that they would prioritise having access to financial services moving ahead in order to effectively manage their own economic activities and make decisions that would improve their livelihoods, food security, and nutrition.
Given that barely a third of all Internet users in India are women, India accounts for half of the global gendered digital gap. India has the largest gender disparity in Asia-Pacific, at 40%. In India, fewer than 32% of women and more than 60% of males are smartphone owners. Women often utilise just phone calls and text messages while using digital services, and their handsets are typically less expensive and less sophisticated than those used by males. The guy in the home decides which digital devices to own and utilise.
According to the NFHS-5, more than 18% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have a low BMI, yet more than half of pregnant women in the same age range are anaemic. The populations that are frequently on the periphery of the digital revolution would become more aware of the gap and requirements if they had access to digital literacy and platforms. Women may use digital tools to improve nutrition programmes and efforts as well as to develop jobs that provide long-term access to food and nutrition.