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Announcing our Acute Malnutrition Prevention Lab participants

Nesta and our partners, the Children’s Innovation Fund Foundation (CIFF) and Vihara, have been developing an acute malnutrition prevention lab to build multi-sector solutions to tackle urban acute malnutrition in India.

The lab is a programme of activity designed to bring people together, to innovate and develop scalable solutions.

We have been searching for organisations to join us to find new ways of addressing the challenge, across sectors including WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), behavioural insights, marketing, technology and nutrition.

From more than 40 applications, we are delighted to introduce the following lab participants:

CHETNA (Centre for Health, Education, Training, Nutrition and Awareness)

Based in Gujarat, CHETNA supports Government and Non-Government Organisations (GOs and NGOs) through building the management capacities of educators, health practitioners, supervisors and managers, enabling them to implement their programmes related to children, young people and women, and advocating for people-centred policies.

The organisation has experience in addressing the issue of nutrition using various approaches, including:

  • Awareness building: promoting awareness on the use of locally available foods, personal hygiene and environmental sanitation, care during pregnancy and lactation, and children’s nutrition from conception to the age of two years.
  • Counselling through home visits, one-to-one counselling and group sessions (women, family members and the neighbouring families, including men) on optimal care and feeding practices, health and nutrition services and their uptake.
  • Creating an enabling environment for women and their families to adopt appropriate care and feeding practices through family/group meetings, village level meetings.
  • Partnership with local community-based organisations and NGOs, and support for reaching out to the communities.
  • Strengthening the government systems: working with elected representatives, and women’s self-help groups.
  • Strengthening existing monitoring mechanisms and service delivery platforms to improve links between service delivery and community.

Dhwani Rural Information System

Dhwani Rural Information System is a technology enterprise that provides affordable, integrated and smart ICT tools to organisations working with poor communities. The company has been working with Niti Aayog, Vedanta Foundation and Tata Trusts on its nutrition interventions.

The organisation is interested in building an augmented reality and machine-learning-driven solution, which makes calculation of anthropometric parameters (body measurements) easy, and classification of malnutrition quick and effective.

Parentune

Founded in 2012 by Nitin Pandey, Parentune is an online community that provides personalised and trusted advice to parents from fellow parents and experts. One of the most awarded Indian startups, Parentune now supports millions of parents across India, from different socio-economic backgrounds. Parentune brings the following to the lab:

  • Nationwide reach of parents to help prevent malnutrition in their children
  • Data/intelligence/research on current behaviour/consumption habits
  • Positive real time intervention – prototype, testing and scaling
  • Expertise in knowledge and counselling on nutrition in early years, including experts who have worked in this area
  • Trusted by millions of parents in curating credible content and solutions.

Euphoria Technosoft (MyChild App)

The organisation acknowledges the emerging question: "How do we get our technology in the hands of the users in the underprivileged part of the society?". It aims to answer this question in two ways.

Euphoria Technosoft has a product in the market called MyChild App, a mobile app that uses algorithms to screen for developmental disorders in children between the age of one-24 months. Since there is a direct correlation between some developmental disorders and malnutrition, they want to explore this in the lab.

The organisation is also building a new piece of software called Accio, which is attempting to target and understand depression, stress and anxiety levels in pregnant women.

The Breakfast Revolution

Based in Mumbai, The Breakfast Revolution (TBR) is an innovative programme based on nutrition science and behaviour change communication. At the heart of the programme are innovative ‘snacks’ that provide 100 percent of the vitamins and minerals a child lacks in their diet, along with as much (vegetarian) protein as two or three eggs.

These power-packed snacks are tasty and cost only $0.10 to $0.15 per meal. In addition to these meals, TBR’s programme includes health check-ups, de-worming and nutritional education to improve hygiene and food choices at home.

Over the last three years, TBR has served more than five million meals to 50,000 malnourished children and women, and more than 70 percent of the children on the programme have shown significant improvement in their health within six months.

Matri Sudha

Matri Sudha is asking: 'If the economic situation in India is improving, then whose children are malnourished? Is there no change in the 10 percent of the population who lie at the bottom of the ladder?'

The organisation has developed ‘Nutrition Champions’ with the objective of transforming the thinking and action on nutrition in the urban slums of Delhi.

The concept has a four-part approach:

  • Working directly with families to build their capacity and education around health and nutrition, and support during pregnancy and first two years of life.
  • Pilot phase to establish convergence of frontline workers i.e. ASHA (accredited social health activist) and Anganwadi workers (who provide basic health and nutrition education and services for children under the age of six).
  • To create a platform and leaders within the community for action-oriented engagements on nutrition.
  • To support, facilitate coordination and collaboration for knowledge building and policy change.

National Institute of Urban Affairs

National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is an institute for research, capacity building and dissemination of knowledge for the urban sector in India. It conducts research on urbanisation, urban policy and planning, municipal finance and governance, land economics, transit-oriented development, urban livelihoods, environment and climate change, and smart cities.

NIUA runs the Child Friendly Smart Cities Initiative. The knowledge collated through this initiative has broadened the institution’s perspective around the relationship between the urban environment and the overall health of children.

Shelter Associates

Shelter Associates is a civil society organisation (CSO) established in 1993 to improve the living conditions of the urban poor in India. It works in slums and informal settlements to provide technical support for, and facilitate access to, improved housing and essential services.

Shelter Associates works extensively with urban local bodies (ULBs) to deliver these services. It has delivered more than 16,200 household toilets in seven cities in Maharashtra that have positively impacted more than 360,000 urban slum dwellers.

The organisation has also introduced the concept of “Poverty Mapping,” using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies to survey and map more than 225,000 urban slum households to date. This provides granular data sets for cities, which are live on the organisation’s data portal and linked to the websites of the respective ULBs where it has been working.

Swami Sivananda Memorial Institute (SSMI)

SSMI has provided supplementary nutrition and midday meals programmes for over a decade. These projects are carried out, not as a catering exercise, but as women empowerment projects based on the Jahangirpuri Model developed by SSMI. This involves:

  • Locating the kitchen in the midst of the beneficiary community
  • Employing women from the beneficiary community
  • Using industrial practices to ensure food safety
  • Choosing technologies that maximise women’s employment but minimise drudgery
  • Maintaining economies of scale for ensuring food safety, making sure the distance/time travelled by cooked food is minimal
  • Ensuring personal and food safety by adopting simple practices, such as providing ‘smokeless chullahs’ (stoves that run on LPG gas rather than firewood); and providing aprons and head gear to employees.

Prodigal Cook Farms

As a local experiential farm enterprise, growing seasonal local produce using natural farming and permaculture practices, Prodigal Cook Farms collaborates with local communities to help them set up and cultivate urban edible spaces.

The organisation works with schools, children and parents as farm educators, with the aim of creating a food secure future and initiating a dialogue on the 'right' nutrition. With a goal of “knowing, growing and reviving 'real' food,” they work with local farmers to revive traditional foods, healing herbs, forgotten grains and greens, and to curate knowledge on how to use these ingredients in India’s biological ecosystems.

Fields of View

Fields of View's goal is to undertake research at the intersection of technology, social sciences, and art to design tools for policymakers and people. Fields of View is a not-for-profit group based in Bangalore. Its work involves three inter-related threads:

  • A policy lab where the organisation undertakes research at the intersection of technology, social sciences, and arts. This involves creating and designing new methods and tools in the areas of simulations and games.
  • A school of policy, which includes training programmes and workshops for government agencies and civil society organisations across South Asia on these new tools and methods, as well as making policy more accessible.
  • Developing artifacts such as graphic novels, games, and videos to make policy more accessible and actionable.

Kaboom

Kaboom is a creative agency to accelerate social change and people’s movements, applying user-centered design thinking and creating entertaining content. The organisation brings two distinct sets of expertise – understanding and the ability to apply human-centred design and expertise in WASH, specifically menstrual hygiene management.

Want to know more?

For more information about the lab, check out our launch blog.

Are you a funder or investor?

We are hosting a demo day in Delhi, India in June. If you would like to take part, please email [email protected].

Author

Kate Sutton

Kate Sutton

Kate Sutton

Head of Corporate Social Innovation

Kate is responsible for managing Nesta's Corporate Social Innovation and Inclusive Growth work

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Brenton Caffin

Brenton Caffin

Brenton Caffin

Executive Director, Global Innovation Partnerships

Brenton is Nesta’s Executive Director, Global Innovation Partnerships, leading Nesta's work globally to help people and organisations get better at innovating for the common good.

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