Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore will be setting up a first-of-its-kind research lab to conduct studies in the field of food security for children, focusing on community participation, elimination of malnutrition and development of policies.
The lab, to be set up in collaboration with the Akshaya Patra Foundation, will be called Akshaya Patra Research Laboratory (APRL). Akshaya Patra Foundation is a civil society organisation that works with the objective of eliminating classroom hunger by ensuring the implementation of the Centre’s Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme, said to be the largest programme in the world for feeding school children.
The lab’s long-term goals include assessing the impact of MDM and developing a socio-human model to create scenarios that can have a positive social impact on a larger scale.
Anjula Gurtoo, chairperson, The Centre for Society and Policy at IISc, said, “Partnering with Akshaya Patra Foundation offers us yet another opportunity to serve the country by using research-backed methods to eradicate classroom hunger at the grassroots level. The young team comprising some of our PhD scholars, professors and project associates is dedicated to working towards children’s food security policy development and advocacy. The timing could not have been more accurate considering the pandemic’s impact on health and nutrition.”
Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation, said that the COVID-19 pandemic not only changed how children learned and played, but also how they consumed nutritious meals.
“Together with IISc, we look forward to a journey where children need not toil before they eat, where children need not earn before they learn. Thus, the focus on research is imperative,” he added.