At the UN-led Scaling Up Nutrition Global Gathering (SUN GG), Basant Kumar Kar, the Global Transform Nutrition Champion and popularly known by the name of ‘Nutrition Man’ in India was felicitated with one of the world’s most prestigious, 2019 Global Nutrition Leadership Award. The gathering was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
This is truly a proud moment for Indians as Basanta is the seventh person in the world to receive this coveted award. The award and felicitation is the result of 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 leader by spreading the agenda for healthier adolescents, women, and children, the harbingers of hope for the world.
Addressing his acceptance speech, Basanta recalled the plight and challenges he faced, beginning this good cause from his native village in Odisha, from there he discovered his true calling to eliminate malnutrition and develop the human potential for a more peaceful, prosperous and a healthy world.
He states good nutrition as 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” Basanta Kar was quoted saying.
He also pointed out how India’s Poshan Abhiyaan (Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) is becoming a Mass Movement. Citizens are more aware than earlier of the urgency to banish malnutrition.
Dedicating the award to the ‘men and women’ he says they are the true nutrition warriors on ground, who have been silently fighting against the curse of malnutrition, without any explicit recognition or acknowledgment.
Highlighting his contributions by way of this award will motivate 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.
For the unversed, 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.
For the people unaware of Mr. Kumar, raised in the village of Chatara Sasan, in Derabish block, Kendrapara district of Odisha (India), he witnessed poverty and the struggle for good nutrition up close and has let the experiences shape his thinking with much optimism.
This is not the first time Basanta has been awarded but he has won many accolades earlier too. For instance, he has previously been felicitated with the prestigious global ‘Transform Nutrition Champions Award’ in the year 2016 for his outstanding work in South Asia and he is the only person to have received this recognition from both India and Bangladesh.
In the year 2016, he was awarded the prestigious Odisha Living Legend Award for his participation in the state nutrition policy. In 2018, he was also appreciated by the Government of India for his leadership role in supporting the initiative of the government, National Nutrition Mission, also known as ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’.