The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in India will partner on enhancing the effectiveness of the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) scheme (earlier Mid-Day Meal Scheme).
An agreement was signed between Mr. Bishow Parajuli, Representative and Country Director for WFP in India and Shri Chanchalapthi Dasa, Vice-Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation today in New Delhi.
“The partnership is a strategic force multiplier bringing deep work and experience together. Since inception in 1961, school meals have been part of WFP’s mission. WFP has six decades of experience supporting school feeding and a trajectory of working with more than 100 countries to set up sustainable national school feeding programmes,” said Mr. Parajuli.
“India is strategically important for School Meals Coalition that was launched last year with WFP as a coordinating body, as it implements the largest school feeding programme in the world, providing a nutrition safety-net to school children. India’s excellent track record of school feeding programmes and various associated initiatives can be of interest to other countries,” he added.
“The country has taken strides in achieving food security. The school feeding program in India has ensured food security for children. With this partnership, we aim to complement WFP’s global network of running large-scale feeding programs across the world with our expertise in addressing hunger at the grassroots level,” Said Shri Chanchalapthi Dasa, Vice-Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation.
“We are further looking forward to cross-learning exercise between countries in the region and the global South on the school meals programme to ensure a world where children need not toil before they eat; where children need not earn before they learn,” Mr. Dasa added.
Considering their collective experience and expertise in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, this longer-term partnership aims to bridge operational and execution gaps in food safety and hygiene projects, capacities of the cooks-cum-helpers, as well as the nutritional quality of the meals provided.
From knowledge sharing between the two organisations to jointly conducting workshops to showcase the implementation of PM-POSHAN in India, the proposed areas of partnership are likely to include dialogues with the Government to bring forth more policy and strategy-related elements that will enhance the quality of the school meal programme.
The WFP and Akshaya Patra will form a Steering Committee comprising representatives from both organisations, which will meet quarterly to plan, discuss and review various aspects of this collaboration. Both organisations will bring in financial resources as required to support the implementation of the activities.
About United Nations-World Food Programme
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. The mission of WFP is to help the world achieve Zero Hunger in our lifetimes. Every day, WFP works worldwide to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry and that the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and children can access the nutritious food they need.
It aims to enhance nutrition in women and children and boost human capital through school feeding programmes. Since the establishment of WFP in 1961, school meals have been part of WFP’s mission (UN 1961). In India, WFP works on the PM POSHAN scheme at both the national and state level.
WFP’s work and constant advocacy on fortified rice has led to its introduction in PM POSHAN as announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In conflict situations, the WFP brings relief to exhausted populations and uses food assistance to build pathways to peace and stability – for which it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
About The Akshaya Patra Foundation
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation 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.