Nutri Pathshala: Adding nutrition to school feeding programme in India

Nutri Pathshala: Adding nutrition to school feeding programme in India

In order to combat malnutrition among children in India by complementing the Government of India’s Mid-day Meal programme, HarvestPlus and Happel Foundation launched Nutri Pathshala under its Health and Nutrition for School Age Children (HaNSA) initiative. The programme aims to combat micronutrient deficiency among school-age children by providing safe and nutritious food through the use of biofortified grains like iron pearl millet and zinc wheat. The programme’s first Nutri Pathshala was inaugurated on February 21, 2023, in Tal. Purandar, Pune, Maharashtra, with the aim of reaching two million children.

The initiative has received impressive support, with Chef Natasha Gandhi of Master Chef fame inaugurating the first Nutrition School along with Arun Baral, CEO of HarvestPlus. The programme is expected to bring positive change to the school feeding programme in India, with the ultimate aim of making India healthier.

HaNSA initiative responds to the Government of India’s nutrition strategy, emphasising the need for food-based solutions to address nutrition insecurity.

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Speaking at the occasion, Ravinder Grover, Regional Coordinator – Asia, HarvestPlus, said, “Despite having one of the largest mid-day meal (MDM) programmes, over 40 per cent of children in India still suffer from malnutrition. We are trying to make a positive impact through our initiative. Nutri Pathshala aims to give children equal access to nutritious food and education for a brighter and healthier future.”

Chef Natasha Gandhi of Master Chef said, “Nutri Pathshala is one such initiative that will help children aspire and achieve their dreams with a thali full of poshan.” The programme is making nutritious choices an integral part of daily meals through initiatives like the Nutrition Diary and Nutri Buddy.

The programme’s approach is set to improve the lives of millions of school-age children in India. Sammita Jadhav, Director, Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences (SIHS ), said at the occasion, “I believe with this initiative, we are here to provide equally add-on nutritious food with the government’s MDM programme for school-age children across the nation.”

Apart from the above-reported speakers, Binu Cherian, Country Manager of HarvestPlus and Bharat More, Sarpanch of Sonori Village spoke about the importance of the initiative at the launch.

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