The MANTHAN project was funded by Dempo Mining Corporation Pvt. Ltd (currently owned by SESA Goa Limited) as part of the of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
To promote the health and well-being and improve the educational outcomes of adolescents through the development, implementation and evaluation of a school based intervention package.
The Manthan Project is a part of Strategy 1 of the SHAPE Program. Six School Health Counsellors (SHC’s) have been trained and placed in the five schools to implement the intervention package at the universal, group and individual level (as described in the SHAPE program).
A total of 1,142 students from the five MANTHAN schools benefited from the services between the years 2008-2010.
A Needs Assessment carried out in the schools identified the following as priority needs to be addressed in the schools: under nutrition, lack of motivation to study, lack of career guidance, lack of study skills, learning difficulties and bullying.
The Manthan program provided important experiences and lessons in the first year which led to revisions in the second year’s program (2009-2010).
Unlike 2008-09, where one SHC covered two schools, in the second year each school was provided with one full time SHC. The intervention was made more structured and regular supervision was provided by the senior staff through weekly supervisory visits on-site. The monitoring and evaluation process has also been made more robust based on lessons learnt during the pilot phase of the program.
A nutritional status report on the BMI data collected from the children in the 5 schools was disseminated to all schools on 14th Nov 2009 as part of the children’s day programme.
We identified a high prevalence of under-nutrition in secondary school children. Four out of every 10 boys and three out of every ten girls were underweight. Approximately 60% experienced hunger due to inadequate food consumption, which they reported adversely affected their academic performance. Underweight students had caloric intakes lower than the recommended amounts, indicating that they were underweight because of lack of food. The findings support the need for routine monitoring of nutritional status and high-calorie supplementary nutrition programmes for secondary school children.
The Manthan project has contributed immensely to improving the health and wellbeing of adolescents in an underserved community of the Bicholim taluka.
We hope to scale up this program to other schools in Goa in collaboration with the Department of Education, Govt of Goa. A renewal of the MANTHAN project has been sanctioned by the Dempo Mining Corporation for the year 2010-2011.