Ashoka Health and Nutrition Initiative: Nourishing Schools

Nourishing Schools is an initiative by Ashoka, with support from the Swiss Re Foundation (SRF), to enable schools to improve the nutrition of communities.

Understanding Nutrition

Almost one in two children under the age of five in India is undernourished.

Among adults, 36 percent of women and 34 percent of men are undernourished. The nutritional status of adults is linked to that of children. For instance, children whose mothers are undernourished are more likely to be undernourished than children with well-nourished mothers.

One of the gaps in addressing undernutrition is that organizations and practitioners in various sectors are unaware of how their work is linked with nutrition.

Ashoka, as a network of leading social entrepreneurs from various sectors, is uniquely positioned to foster collaborations to address this challenge.

Based on inputs from our Ashoka Fellows & various stakeholders and insights from our surveys, schools have been identified as key entry points for improving nutrition.

While it is important to focus on pregnant women and infants, it is also critical to target school children in their pre-adolescent and early adolescent years. These years offer a key window for shaping their lifetime habits, which have an impact on their health.

The Nourishing Schools initiative will work to transform schools into hubs that improve nutrition of school children, families and communities. Improving the quality of midday meals, including nutrition in the curriculum, increasing access to clean water and sanitation - these are some of the comprehensive interventions we plan to implement across schools.

In keeping with Ashoka's Everyone a ChangemakerTM approach, our programme will cultivate in children changemaking abilities. They will be able to improve their own nutrition and the nutrition of their families.

Ashoka India has rolled out the Nourishing Schools pilot in Maharashtra in July 2014 focused on the target group of children aged between 9 to 14 years. This is in partnership with Ashoka Fellow Sunanda Mane's organization Lend-A-Hand-India.

Together we can work towards a Nutrients For All world where each person is well-nourished and has the potential to further our Everyone a Changemaker vision.

For more details on this program visit


If you would like to learn more about the initiative, provide insights or be added to our newsletter mailing list, contact Archana Sinha at


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