Nourishing Schools Foundation
Nourishing Schools Foundation aims to develop young changemakers aged between 9-14 years who can take charge of improving their own and their communities' nutrition.
We have worked with public schools and communities across India in about 5 states (including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam and Tamil Nadu), reaching over 230 schools and 60000+ children directly using a simple yet proven "toolkit" (box of ideas) approach. The physical box (now partly online as well) includes curriculum, games, activities (like making their own soap, building a handwashing station, growing their own nutritional garden), home remedies, etc.
We provide these toolkits to schools with games and activities for children between 4th to 9th grade. Over two cycles of engaging with the toolkit, children solve problems in their schools and communities related to nutrition. The Nourishing Schools programme works with partners to leverage schools as a hub to improve the nutrition of families and communities.
We adopt a data-driven intervention, starting with a baseline survey to measure the health/nutritional status of adolescents in school from 4th to 9th grade and to track their health and nutrition-related behaviours. The results from the survey are presented to teachers, schoolchildren and parents, thereby turning this data into a tool for change.
Based on the survey findings, we help them identify evidence-based priority areas for action. This is supplemented by providing a toolkit, that includes resources to help them take action to tackle malnutrition. The toolkit implementation creates awareness about health, nutrition, a healthy diet, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) using action-oriented games and activities. Over a two-year cycle of data collection and analysis as well as engagement with the toolkit, our innovation helps children solve problems in their schools and communities related to malnutrition e.g. by establishing and maintaining school gardens to access nutritious foods and supplement the mid day meals.
This catalyses change and we have seen children adopt healthier behaviours, report increased belief in their ability to tackle malnutrition and improve their nutritional status. The children also take some of these lessons back to their homes e.g. using the skills acquired in setting up a school garden to set up a homestead garden that helps their families access nutritious foods. Schools often improve infrastructure related to health and nutrition, based on the response to these surveys.
In the past, our midline studies (2500+ responses) have shown the following impact in just 12 months of engaging with our programme.
- 14 percentage point decrease in schoolchildren that are undernourished
- 32 percentage point increase in schoolchildren who washed their hands with soap/sanitiser
- 14 percentage point increase in schoolchildren who said that they could take charge of their nutrition
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