* The Akshaya Patra Foundation partners with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in building a research lab
* The lab to be a knowledge epicenter with think tanks consisting of economists, philanthropists, research scientists, government officials and global institutes focused on hunger eradication in the country
* Only research lab of the scale to be run by a not for profit and a renowned research institution
The Akshaya Patra Foundation collaborates with the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) to form “The Akshaya Patra Research Lab”. First of its kind lab run by a not for profit in the country and an academic institution, aims to conduct comprehensive studies in the areas such as child food security, community participation for social welfare, elimination of malnutrition, policy development, and advocacy for battling hunger.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been effortlessly working towards providing nutritious food in the last 18 years.
Being the implementing partner of the government of India’s school lunch programme, the organization has been instrumental in reforming policies pertaining to the scheme, improving the nutritional value for the beneficiaries under the programme. The programme has a direct impact on the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7, which are also the priority of the Government of India.
As the Foundation scales in the nutrition and food security space, the focus on research is imperative. In partnership with the academic strength of the Indian Institute of Science, the Foundation aims to develop a knowledge epicenter with think tanks consisting of economists, philanthropists, research scientists, government officials, and global institutes for building its efforts towards global advocacy and ending classroom hunger and malnutrition.
Established under The Centre for Society and Policy (CSP) at IISC, the partnership has so far resulted in an evidence-based research study & published papers on Vaccine hesitancy analysis; Covid-19’s impact analysis on a child’s education and nutrition, psychology study of school children, water-food-energy nexus, and assessing human security crisis.
Some of the long terms plans of the lab include: Impact assessment of Mid-Day Meals and developing a socio-human model to build scenarios that can cause positive social impact at a larger scale.
Speaking about the partnership Prof. Anjula Gurtoo, Chair, The Centre for Society and Policy at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, said,
“At IISC, we are constantly in pursuit of excellence in research and innovation to ensure India’s social welfare. Partnering with The Akshaya Patra Foundation offers us yet another opportunity to serve the country by using research-backed methods to eradicate classroom hunger from the grass root levels. The young team consisting of some of our brightest PhD scholars, professors and project associates is dedicated to working towards child's food security policy development and advocacy. The timing could not have been more accurate considering the pandemic’s multifold impact on health and nutrition.”
Talking about the need for increased research effort in child nutrition, Mr. Shridhar Venkat, CEO, The Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “The pandemic did not only change how kids learned and played but also how they consumed nutritious meals. While we continuously worked to provide access to nutrition, there is an immediate need to scale our efforts and further the cause of hunger eradication.”
He further added, “Our R&D efforts have gotten stronger over the years, and through this academic partnership with IISC, we are pleased to scale it further. Together, we look forward to creating a country where the journey of realizing a hunger-free India: where children need not toil before they eat, where children need not earn before they learn. Thus the focus on research is imperative than ever before.”
The Akshaya Patra Research Lab’s Advisory Board consists of the following well-known experts:
Dr. Dinesh Kumar Bharadwaj - Scientist ‘G, ICMR- National Institute of Nutrition
Mr. Dola Mohapatra - Executive Director, Rise Against Hunger India
Dr. Elisabeth Eppinger – Professor, Sustainability, HTW Berlin
Ms. Meghna Narayan - Co-founder Slurrp Farm
Prof. Rajib Shaw – Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University
Dr. Rebecca Kuriyan Raj – Head of Division of Nutrition, St. John’s Research Institute, India
Ms. Ruchika Chugh Sachdeva - Nutrition Lead, India Country Office at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr. Rupal Dalal – Associate Prof, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT)
Dr. Seema Puri – Associate Professor, Food & Nutrition at Institute of Home Economics, DU & VP - Dietetic Association
Dr. Prakash M Halami – Chief Scientist & Professor AcSIR; CSIR-CFTRI (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research–Central Food Technological Research Institute)
To know more visit: https://csp.iisc.ac.in/taprl/
About CSP, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
The Centre for Society and Policy (CSP) is a policy research centre based at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. Established in November 2018, as an interdisciplinary centre for science and technology policy, the centre explores interactions between science, technology, society, and development. The Indian Institute of Science has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research in the various disciplines of science and technology. With the establishment of a policy centre, the institute extends its impact of S&T research by looking at the multitude interrelationships between S&T research and policy. The CSP today addresses several policy agendas including sustainable futures, intellectual property rights, genetic engineering and health, smart cities, livelihood and water futures, informal economic systems, data security, and data economics. The centre is committed to policy engagement and impacting policy at all stages of S&T research. To know more visit: https://csp.iisc.ac.in/
About The Akshaya Patra Foundation
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that strives to address classroom hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Government and Government-aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims to fight hunger and, at the same time, bring children to school. Since 2000, Akshaya Patra has worked towards reaching out to children with wholesome food every single school day. The Foundation is continuously leveraging technology to cater to millions of children. Its state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and attract curious visitors from around the world.
In partnership with the Government of India and various State Governments and the inestimable support of many philanthropic donors and well-wishers, Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings serving just 1,500 school children across five schools to becoming the world’s largest (not- for-profit run) mid-day meal programme, serving wholesome food to over 1.8 million children from 19,039 schools [as of March 2020] across 13 states and one union territory in India. To know more visit: www.akshayapatra.org