IRONATION Gitikka Ganju Dhar Pullman SEES
What if majority of children in India could unlock the depths of their cognitive potential? What a nation we could build!
An India as dynamic and vibrant as it was in the Golden Age, the period between the 4th century and 6th century CE, during the Gupta Empire, when significant achievements were made by Indians in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, science, religion and philosophy. The Decimal Numeral System, including the concept of zero, was invented in India during this period. It is stuff legends are made of. We must be proud of the contribution that India has made to human civilization. In the words of legendary author Mark Twain, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great-grandmother of tradition.”
That was the past, what about the present and indeed the future?!
Today, India is on a journey. A journey that promises to lead us to a Promised Land. The journey we are undertaking today will be taken to fruition by the next generation. A new generation of children are growing up today, 80 % of whom suffer from Hidden Hunger. Hidden Hunger due to micronutrient deficiency does not produce hunger as we know it. Children might not feel it in the belly, but it strikes at the core of their health and vitality. It is especially damaging to the developing human brain, their learning ability and productivity. Among the most jarring consequences of hidden hunger the most prevalent and neglected is iron deficiency. The lack of iron in a child’s diet has serious consequences on its healthy growth, and can lead to a condition known as Iron Deficiency Anemia. Iron Deficiency Anemia is perhaps India’s biggest public health challenge and a question that is staring us point blank in the face.
So, does this challenge has some solutions? And more importantly, why am I talking about it?!!
Through 2017, I am privileged to be a part of a series of events put together, aptly titled IRONATION, to communicate this message to professionals, who parents trust and look towards, for advice. The IRONATION events have left an indelible mark on me and in fact contributed, just like I have to the Events, to my understanding of this urgent challenge India is facing.
The event featured here took place on April 16 at Pullman Aerocity New Delhi.
In India, the traditional Annaprashana ceremony, which marks an infant’s first intake of food other than breast milk, is in accordance with the IYCF guidelines for child feeding. While we may have tried to inculcate the right feeding habits, we do not yet inculcate the right nutrition habits. We all know the importance of breastfeeding for the first six months. But after six months, it doesn’t provide enough energy or macro and micronutrients. That’s why complementary foods must be fed. Homemade foods do provide nutrition to babies. But, do we as parents and caretakers burden our little ones with volumes of food. And despite the volumes that are fed, is homemade food alone enough to provide the required amount of macro nutrients, fats, proteins and most importantly, micro nutrients on a daily basis? Does it make sense to also include complementary food that is dense in energy and nutrients.
Every food revolution that India has experienced has made a significant difference to our health. However, there hasn’t been a single revolution that has changed the way a child’s nutrition was looked at. Today, our biggest public health challenge is 80% of children less than 3 years are suffering from Iron Deficiency Anemia, which not only impacts us at a social and economic level but also impacts the cognitive power of a child. Imagine losing ten IQ points due to iron deficiency, the annual losses would be up to 23.8 billion USD and 1.3% of GDP.
The experiential agency that has been part of the core meeting design group and responsible for executing the IRONATION series on a pan India basis is Strategic Engagement and Event Solutions Pvt. Ltd., based at New Delhi and Hyderabad. The finesse and finish they bring to the table is simply commendable and refreshing! The constant endeavour to sculpt something world class is evident in each of my interactions with them.
Largely, the IRONATION events are Technology-led, and the latest immersive Tech solutions are being deployed to great success. These include and not limited to 3D projection mapping, Holographic projection, Augmented Reality, Motion Sensing, Touch sensing, RFID Identification amongst others. It is interesting to know how the agency has combined a communication that very well had all the reasons to fall in the clichéd trap of being long drawn and drab, but has been turned around into something highly engaging and immersive. Eminent names from the field grace the event making it a great combination of live, recorded and Technology!
A particularly impressive Technology from the US, that I have felt to find great reason for events of all season, is Slido. It allows attendees to be part of all conversations in the room without having to download any Application! A web based app, it works wonders for moderated panels and keynotes alike. I highly recommend it!
As the host, I have the responsibility of not only setting the tone, disseminating information, outlining concepts but also keeping the audience vibrantly engaged through a content-heavy event of very serious nature. My personal experiences as a mother were woven into the talk on stage and enhanced my connect with the audience.
Some events make you feel better about yourself as professional. The IRONATION series is one such project. In the midst of launching mobile handsets, steering corporate awards, acting eloquent at lifestyle events and talking at film-led events, events such as these are a rosy balm to my soul. A purpose beyond the commercial is served. I once again feel like the graduate from The AKJ Institute of Mass Communication who in her humble capacity, dreamt of changing the world.
I hope I am, because no amount of success would mean anything without fulfilling this dream.
About the author
Gitikka Ganju Dhar is a Distinguished Indian Anchor and Curator, Talkthestage.
Connect with Gitikka on Twitter.
The IRONATION event featured here took place at Pullman Aerocity New Delhi on April 16.