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Akshaya Patra Receives The EMPI - Indian Express Innovation Award

Press Release

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, one of the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal programs, was one of 11 winners that received the distinguished Indian Express Innovation award  titled ‘Scalable, Technology Driven Kitchen Model’ from Entrepreneurship and Management Processes International (EMPI) Group of Institutions in association with The Indian Express Group at an awards ceremony in New Delhi.

Dr. Nandan Nilekani, the Chairman of the new Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), presented the gold trophy to Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation at the fourth annual EMPI-Indian Express Indian Innovation Awards ceremony on July 12, 2010 in New Delhi.  Akshaya Patra was recognized for being a role model for the midday school meals program based on their innovative deployment of technology and cutting edge management practices.

Initiated in 2005 by former Indian President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the award identifies innovative organizations in India who have made amazing breakthroughs to become role models in their respective fields.   Akshaya Patra was selected out of 184 applications representing corporations, NGOs, and various government departments.   Out of the 11 organizations recognized, 8 organizations, including Akshaya Patra, received the gold trophy.
For the past two years, EMPI and Indian Express annually recognizes organizations operating in India through these awards aimed at promoting a ‘culture of innovation’ in India by showcasing their innovative initiatives. Dr Ashok Jain, Vice President of EMPI Group of Institutions said “We are delighted to honor a socially responsible organization like Akshaya Patra who can serve as role model in the long run for others to emulate”
“We are honored to receive this recognition. It is innovative technology that has not only allowed us to sustain and grow the Akshaya Patra Program in reach and scale but to differentiate it from other programs. We look to a time when hunger will no longer be a barrier to school attendance and learning, and I am confident that Akshaya Patra will help achieve this not only in India but globally as well,” said Madhu Sridhar, Akshaya Patra USA’s President and CEO

Akshaya Patra’s vision is that no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger. The organization currently feeds over one million children each day in 7,000 schools through 19 kitchens in eight states in India.

A public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. It costs $28 to feed a child daily for the entire school year. With an average government subsidy of 50 percent, $28 feeds two children. Akshaya Patra has a demonstrated impact on the children it reaches. AC Nielsen, an independent research firm, performed an impact assessment which demonstrated an increase in enrollment, especially among the female students, and better health and improved performance among all students who received school lunches. This meal gives these children an incentive to come to school, stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop their cognitive abilities to focus on learning.  Akshaya Patra is a great example of what can be accomplished when the public sector, private sector and the civic society collaborate-- a cost effective, scalable solution with high quality service delivery. After reaching its goal of feeding one million children each school day, Akshaya Patra’s next milestone is to serve 5 million children daily by 2020. For more information, please visit www.foodforeducation.org.

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