Mid-day Meal training programme at Pashang cluster by NESFAS

India, having an immense youth population is at the brink of a new dawn and here at NESFAS, we recognise the potential that the youth holds and see the importance of education and nutrition. A lot of poverty-stricken families send their children to schools in hopes that they will receive a Mid-day Meal in the process, which will consequently reduce their financial burden. In a way, this too facilitates education; thus, Mid-day Meals have a far-reaching impact which is the reason why NESFAS has been conducting Mid-day Meal Training Programmes in communities Rural Electrification Foundation Funded Project “No One Left Behind” Initiative.

Mid-day Meal Training Programme at Pashang Cluster by NESFAS

A Mid-Day Meal cook preparing a dish

On the 20th of April, 2020, 40 Attendees came together at Pashang to carry out the programme which was facilitated by, Badarishisha Nongkyynrih, Lead Associate NESFAS for the eventual benefit of school children. Members from the Government programme ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) and Anganwadi (which is a rural child care centre started by the Government of India) were also present at the programme. Representatives from Umsawwar,  Nohron communities were also present in the course of the programme, the lead Associate demonstrated to the participants, three simple and comprehensible recipes, viz. Egg Frittata with Sweet Potatoes and Green-Leafy Wild Edibles, Millet Pancakes and Vegetable Stew; which could be easily included into the Mid-day Meal Menu/ ICDS Menu. The entire idea behind this was that the trainees could first perfect the three recipes and then move on ahead with further updation. The responsibility for the follow-up of this training programme was given to the Community Facilitators or the Field Coordinators of the respective communities who would keep NESFAS informed about the progress.

Mid-day Meal Training Programme at Pashang Cluster by NESFAS

Badarishisha Nongkynrih , Lead Associate Public Helath and Food NESFAS, inspecting the cooking of the Mid-Day Meal cooks

The main motive behind this programme is to include all the important and necessary food groups into the mid-day meals for children. Generally, the students are fed with rice, pulses, potatoes and sometimes boiled eggs for their mid-day meal which prevents them from getting the necessary nutrition; so this initiative aims to come up with new and innovative recipes that incorporate food items that are both nutritional and tasty; for example, the children would be given a simple boiled egg as a part of their mid-day meal earlier, but with the help of this programme, the trainees were taught to make egg frittatas that the children would enjoy and combine that with locally sourced green-leafy wild edibles that they would generally dislike but are highly nutritional. This would result in using and promoting local resources that are available within the respective communities and also satisfying the children’s preferences.

Mid-day Meal Training Programme at Pashang Cluster by NESFAS

Meal preparation using locally sourced ingredients

Consequently, this will not only fight the peril of malnutrition but also introduce healthy local groups within the communities to promote the usage of indigenous products that are otherwise overlooked. 

Overall, it was a successful programme and the trainees seemed to be optimistic about implementing the learnings from the day. The Lead Associate was assured that they would perfect the three recipes and seemed to be quite eager to learn more; they truly believed that this would result in holistic benefit for the children eventually. 

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Abhigyan Chakravorty
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