Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD) has been recently awarded by Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the initiative PCD will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled, ‘Using Mobile Phones for Transparent School Feeding Tendering’.
The project will develop a software platform, which uses everyday items such as mobile phones, to improve market information within Kenya’s Home Grown School Meals programme – a government-led intervention which procures food used in school meals locally from smallholder farmers. This and other similar programmes are commonly referred to as HGSF, which have been described as a ‘win-win’ for both children and farmers alike; with well-fed children more likely to attend and stay in school and farmers more secured of a livelihood.
Commencing its design stage with the government and development partners, the project will explore whether farmers groups can gain better access to market information through mobile phone alerts, communicating when schools are procuring food, alongside how much is needed and at what quality. At the same time, local and national government bodies will receive accurate and real-time reporting from the schools and farmers on how food is procured, ensuring greater information to inform decision making and thereby contributing to greater programme effectiveness.
As global leader in the field of School Health and Nutrition, PCD conducts quality research to best inform governments to deliver effective nutrition and health programmes in schools. PCD currently provides technical support to government-led HGSF programmes in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya and Zanzibar.
GCE funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. PCD’s project is one of more than 60 GCE grants announced today by the foundation who were awarded funding after demonstrating a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas. The foundation is accepting applications for the current GCE round until November 12, 2014.