*Average prevatence for the 26 sub-Saharan African countries that have similar data
Source: National Family Health Survey India 2005-06 (Latest NHFS data
It’s perhaps the biggest riddle that India’s encountered – how is it that in one of the world’s fastest growing economies, almost 1 in every 2 children below the age of five is undernourished? How is it possible that our undernourishment rate is double in proportion to that of sub-Saharan Africa, despite a gamut of programmes targeting pregnant women and children aged two years and below?
We believe that one solution lies in giving future parents the tools to take charge of their own nutrition and that of their communities. Through the Nourishing Schools initiative, we are reaching out to children aged between 9-14 years through their schools and surrounding communities.
This holds incredible possibilities. What if we could change not just methods, but mindsets? What if we could not just increase the supply of nourishing food, but the demand for it as well? What if we could end undernourishment in a single generation? Often, it’s the ‘what ifs’ that create what will be.
We have developed a toolkit that teaches children about improving nutrition in a fun and impactful manner. It also enables communities to broaden agriculture’s focus from merely increasing incomes to improving both incomes and nutritional status - we call this dual purpose agriculture. In partnership with school headmasters, teachers and local farming groups, we’re focused on creating change from the ground up.
This initiative has been designed by Ashoka India and its network of partners (including Ashoka Fellows), with the support of the Swiss Re Foundation.
The Nourishing Schools programme has been designed as a toolkit, which allows for its easy adoption and implementation across schools, and eventually, states.
The process is collaborative, so that the organisations and schools that partner with us can adopt its modules effectively. For example, teachers and students can share their feedback to improve its success.