Saving the Future in the Swamp: a Capability Approach to Child Growth in haor areas of Bangladesh

Barnali Chakraborty

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    Human capabilities to do or achieve something may vary according to the cultural and environmental context, and individual values. We aimed to identify the capabilities of children and their parents to achieve healthy growth at an early stage of life, particularly before two years of age in the haor areas of Bangladesh. Haor areas are geographically vulnerable due to long-term flooding and this reality creates a very challenging context that is different from the conditions in any other part of the country.
    We discussed with the communities of haor and identified a list of the capabilities for children and their parents that they valued important for their children’s healthy growth in haor. The findings indicated that child growth capabilities are multidimensional. Therefore, the existing child growth monitoring programme and policy instruments should embrace a multidimensional concept of child growth that includes the child's context; the biological, social, and cognitive dimensions of child growth; and the capabilities of the parents to provide good care to the children. Our findings shed light on the contextual elements that shape people’s health-seeking behaviour, and the patriarchal arrangements that affect women’s health care and wellbeing. These insights can be incorporated into the intervention components of existing policies and programmes of the government, and the NGOs that are working to address the social challenges to improve child growth and nutrition outcomes. We demonstrated the process of co-creating knowledge with the community in a democratic way that could guide nutritionists and capability scholars who want to apply the capability approach for child growth.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Haisma, Hinke, Supervisor
    • Darak, Shrinivas, Co-supervisor
    Award date9-Jun-2022
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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