The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), in collaboration with Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF), is conducting a three-day virtual consultation on the school feeding programme. The consultation “Augmenting Nutrition in Mid Day Meal Scheme” is scheduled for 4, 7, and 11 January 2022.
The three-day consultation aims to bring global and national experts to one platform to share their experiences and scale up the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) model. These models link smallholder farmers with the scheme, promoting school nutrition gardens in school and nutrition literacy among school children.
The Chief Scientist of World Health Organisation, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, will inaugurate the consultation and deliver the keynote address. It is followed by a panel discussion and breakout groups discussion.
Implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) has successfully addressed classroom hunger, improved students’ enrollment ratio, and promoted social equity. The scheme is the largest school meal programme in the world, reaching over 120 million children studying in 1.14 million schools daily.
The scheme has gained momentum after it brought under the umbrella programme Prime Minister POshan SHakthi Nirman (PM-POSHAN). Some initiatives proposed under the programme are promoting a supplementary micronutrient-rich diet, increased use of local vegetables and produce, and establishing nutrition gardens.
Globally, the emphasis has also been growing on providing children with healthy, balanced, and nutritious meals. Many governments are increasingly sourcing food for school meals from smallholder farmers to support local economies.
Representatives of 10 state governments will showcase their best practices and share their experiences. Besides national experts and scientists from MDM research groups, experts from international agencies such as World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will participate. The consultation will be facilitated by policymakers, nodal officers, and scientists. Eminent persons will chair all three days’ sessions.