Akshaya Patra Foundation and UN World Food Programme to collaborate
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 in New Delhi.
“The partnership is a strategic force multiplier bringing deep work and experience together. Since its 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.
“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.
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, and 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.