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Helen Keller Bangladesh developed the Nurturing Connections curriculum to complement its nutrition education and homestead food production programs.

Like many developing countries, the social mobility of women in Bangladesh is often limited by cultural norms, which margenalize women with limited ability to own land, access markets, or make financial decisions in the home.

Nurturing Connections offers a participatory approach to challenging gender norms and building equality and constructive communications skills with every member of a community to create the best environment for improving nutrition.

The curriculum creates a safe space for discussion and structured activities where men and women directly discuss and challenge existing household inequalities that contribute to health and economic problems at home and in communities. While the program is oriented around nutrition and food security, it also builds skills in communication, assertiveness, and problem-solving. Drawing from Helen Keller’s fieldwork and the actual challenges faced by local women, it provides mothers, fathers, mothers-in-law, and fathers-in-law with the opportunity to discuss nutrition and gender-related problems among their peer groups, and then to share their perspectives in a mediated, community-group setting.

The program is designed to empower women to make the decisions needed to improve nutrition for themselves and their children, and enable women food farmers to engage on more equal terms in the marketplace so they can gain more fairly from their labor and investments.