Children with add-ons
Our project is addressing the very basic fundamental problem of hunger and malnutrition among children in poor families. It is a well known fact that India’s children suffer from high rates of malnutrition. In many pockets, even a regular meal is a rare occasion for the child. Naandi’s project reaches out to these very poor children. By providing the midday meal in the school, it is ensured that more and more children attend school – this helps address the enrolment & attendance problem in government schools. A child who is hungry cannot be expected to learn in school. By providing a a nutritious meal, Naandi is ensuring that the children are in a position to understand and learn what is being taught in class. Midday meals from a centralised kitchen succeed in bringing down caste barriers, as neither teachers nor parents worry about who has cooked the food. It is perceived as having come from a factory. In addition, all children get the same (equal) quality and quantity of food – this helps to bring about a sense of equality amongst children, even if they come from different backgrounds.
The journey began in 2003 in Hyderabad and now Naandi is providing nutritious noon meals to more than a million children attending government schools across the country through 23 centralized kitchens in 5 states – Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa and Chhattisgarh in partnership with state governments and Corporates.
Naandi Foundation has pioneered one of the most effective ways to operationalise the Midday Meal (MDM) program by setting up centralized kitchen in an ‘urban’, ‘peri-urban’, 'rural' and 'tribal' regions. The centralized kitchen offers the benefits of cooking the meal in ‘food-grade’ quality vessels under strict supervision in a safe environment ensuring hygienic standards and provision of nutritious and uniform quality of food to a large number of children. The centralized kitchen is a factory-like setting, which optimizes automation in the entire process and is able to achieve economies of scale. Further, the transport of food is closely monitored and delivered to the schools at the stipulated time.
The innovative part of this initiative is fortification of meals with Iron, Zinc and Folic acid which provides required nutrients to children in a cost effective manner. Another important feature of this program is value addition by serving add-ons to children such as boiled egg, seasonal fruits, sweets and biscuits.