Basanta Kumar Kar of India conferred prestigious 2019 Global Nutrition Leadership Award

Kathmandu: Fondly called the ‘Nutrition Man’, Basanta Kumar Kar, the Global Transform Nutrition Champion, was conferred one of the world’s most prestigious, 2019 Global Nutrition Leadership Award at the UN-led Scaling up Nutrition Global Gathering (SUN GG) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Basanta is the seventh person in the world to receive this coveted award.

The SUN Global Gathering (SUNGG)— the flagship event of the SUN Movement was attended by over 1000 participants from across the world, that included delegations from 61 member countries of the SUN Movement, important Heads of States and key government representatives. The award has been
conferred on him for his outstanding contributions and leadership role in realizing the vision for a healthier, more improved world, especially for the vulnerable populations. In doing so, Basanta Kar has been an inspirational force by propelling the agenda for healthier adolescents, women and children, the harbingers of hope for the world.

In his acceptance speech, Basanta recounted the plight and challenges he witnessed, starting from his native village in Odisha, where from he discovered his true calling to eliminate malnutrition and develop human potential for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.

For him, Good nutrition is a passport to a good life, the fight against malnutrition needs to be more urgent and more focused therefore. “A good life can be realised only with the Right to live a life with dignity with access to safe and nutritious food. To do away with malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency is as urgent and important, as it was to banish evils like slavery” says Basanta Kar.

He highlighted how India’s Poshan Abhiyaan; – Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Scheme for Holistic Nourishment– is becoming a Mass Movement. Citizens are becoming aware of the urgency to banish malnutrition.

He dedicated the award to the ‘men and women’ – the true nutrition warriors on ground – who have been silently waging a war against the scourge of malnutrition, without any explicit recognition or acknowledgment.

A visionary champion, with immense energy, Basanta has taken the challenge of malnutrition into the community domain, adopting an inclusive approach. A ‘Champion among Champions’, he is a change-maker and leader, who has lit the path for cohesive action to tackle the curse of malnutrition.
Aacknowledging his contributions by way of this award will propel him further to achieve the objectives of the global nutrition mission, and will serve as an inspiration to the many unsung heroes dedicating themselves to transforming the lives of the poor and underprivileged.

The Global Nutrition Leadership Award was founded in 2012 by Switzerland- based Sight and Life, a humanitarian nutrition think tank that works to deliver innovative solutions to eliminate all forms of malnutrition among the world’s most vulnerable populations. Prior to Basanta Kar, the previous six awardees
include global luminaries and outstanding experts from the field of nutrition.

Raised in the quaint village of Chatara Sasan, in Derabish block, Kendrapara district of Odisha (India), Basanta witnessed poverty and the struggle for good nutrition up close; and has let the experiences shape his thinking with much optimism. He has come to realize, the power of community, its connection and
its ability to do great things together, and bring great change.
As a development professional, Basanta has won many accolades. He has previously been conferred the prestigious global ‘Transform Nutrition Champions Award’ in the year 2016 for his exemplary work in South Asia;
and is the only person to have received this recognition from both India andBangladesh. He was awarded the prestigious Odisha Living Legend Award in the year 2016 for his contribution to the state nutrition policy. In 2018, he was recognized by the Government of India for his leadership role in
supporting the National Nutrition Mission, also called ‘POSHAN Abhiyaan’. His passion for alleviating the vulnerable is presented by way of poems and prose encapsulated in his collection titled – ‘The Unfold Pinnacle’ that tells of real life stories of marginalised women and girls and their journeys towards better
nutrition. Endorsing the book, Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, wrote “The Unfold Pinnacle, by Basanta Kar is an extraordinary work that combines the images of those often not spoken about…. He remains sensitive and profound, transporting our cognitive thoughts towards righteousness”.
Basanta Kumar Kar – Profile and Background details:

 Truth is hard. Truth is also liberating, it is freedom. For Basanta Kumar Kar, it is both. The life-course of this ‘Nutrition Man’, has been carefully nurtured by the personal, political and profound coming together, to propel his mission to eliminate malnutrition and advance human potential, for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.
 Basanta is a member of the key advisory group on Nutrition in the NITI Aayog, India’s premier policy think-tank under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
 He holds positions in key policy, advisory and technical bodies on nutrition, under the Government of India.
Outstanding contributions and achievements of Basanta:
 Basanta co-led ‘Transform Nutrition Leaders Network’ in South Asia.
 Currently as a member of the South Asian Policy Leadership for Improved Nutrition and Growth (SAPLING), an initiative under The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (GLOPLAN), Basanta is working with a coalition of senior decision-makers of key national and regional organisations in South Asia, with the common goal of developing integrated, local and national multi-sectoral action on food systems, to combat malnutrition in all its forms.
 As member of the Core Committee of the Jan Andolan (People’s Movement on Nutrition), Basanta supported the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India’s vision for making ‘Nutrition’ a movement in India under the National Nutrition Mission of the Government of India.
 As member of the National Expert Group and drafting committee leader under Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, he was instrument in developing India’s Strategy on Prevention of
Malnutrition and Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) operational

 As Founder & CEO, Basanta under the leadership of the globally-renowned scientist, Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, built a unique nutrition platform; the first-of-its-kind ever, called the ‘The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security’ which supported and accelerated the launch of the POSHAN Abhiyan (Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) and
Food Fortification policy and standards in India.
 Basanta launched the 2016 Global Nutrition Report in India in
collaboration with key donors and the GNR team, which brought keen focus on the nutrition and health statistics of the world.
 He has worked with India’s largest and one of the most credible media groups, the Outlook Media Group, for introducing the first-ever, ‘Poshan Awards’ to recognise stalwarts in the nutrition scene of India. Conferring the Poshan Awards, the Hon’ble Vice President of India in August of 2019, duly recognised Outlook, PCI and Basanta Kar, calling to action, a ‘Nutrition Revolution’ with women leading at the front. The platform in partnership
with government is supporting the agenda of the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Poshan Abhiyaan, while projecting unsung champions of nutrition in India.
 Currently, Basanta is co-leading a comprehensive strategy in the east Indian state of Odisha, titled- “Mission Filaria, Malaria, and Malnutrition- Free Odisha”, keeping in context the grim figures, where Odisha contributes 40% of India’s total malaria burden and the poorest tribes are affected most by the triple burden of Malnutrition, Malaria and Filaria.
 In the aftermath of the Odisha Super Cyclone of 1999, Basanta also played a leadership role in actioning the first-of-its-kind Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) model of children and women at risk, that received much acknowledgement and recognition.
 Working with the Government of Chhattisgarh, Basanta demonstrated record reduction in malnutrition among children in the year 2006 (20.8% child underweight). The first-ever nutrition policy of Chhattisgarh was led by Basanta providing his technical expertise to the government. He also supported the empowerment of over 10,000 marginalised women and girls
for their election to local government positions (Panchayats) in
Chhattisgarh to propel action on nutrition; for which he was also
nominated for the India Innovation Award.

 Basanta is committed to transforming human capital potential, as the essence of livelihood access. He was able to build on and bring to scale, a nutrition model, through Bihar’s JEEViKA platform, comprising of marginalised women. In partnership with NITI Aayog and key nodal ministries, he is working to scale-up this unique model in other Indian
states as well.
 In Bangladesh, Basanta introduced the first-ever Community-led Nutrition-rich School Meal program (Hot cooked Mid-Day Meal) and mandatory food fortification legislation in edible oil; the first such legislation in South Asia. Today, 85% of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million, are benefiting from the Vitamin-A Fortified Refined Vegetable Oil Act in place.
 Basanta played a leading role in bringing about the National Salt Law and co-led a 10-year ‘National Strategy on Prevention and Control of Micronutrient Deficiencies’ after the first National Micronutrient Survey was completed in Bangladesh.
 He has also co-led the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in
Bangladesh and supported the launch of SUN Business Network.
List of Past Six Global Nutrition Leadership Award Recipients-Past
awardees of the Global Nutrition Leadership Award, instituted in 2012 include:
David Nabarro, 2012- World Food Prize Laureate and Former Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate; Dr Robert Black, 2013 – Director, Institute for International Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;
Anna Lartey, 2014-Director of Nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization. Former President, International Union of Nutritional Sciences; Shawn Baker, 2015- Former Director of Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chair of SUN Movement Executive Committee; Rd. Dr. Shilpa Bhatte, 2017- Senior Program Advisor at Vitamin Angels; MS. Ellen Piwoz, 2017- Initiative Lead- DAE (Data, Analytics and Evidence), Nutrition,
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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