Ensuring Good Quality Mid-Day Meal
Gram Panchayat Mahabar of Barmer district is dominated by Rajput community and other sections of the society here are exploited a lot. There is an upper primary school in Mahabar Peethal village coming under this panchayat area where children of all castes studies.
Like all other schools, mid-day-meal facility is being provided here as well, but cooking work is done by woman from Rajput community because of their dominance. Though she did not prepare quality food and children often fell ill after taking the meal, nobody from the village had courage to oppose her. At last the villagers asked their children not to take the meal prepared at school.
The issue was raised by the women in the meeting organised by MMBA at the Resource Centre. The workers of the organisation decided to visit the school regarding the issue and on December 17, 2008, they visited and observed the mid-day-meal being prepared at the school. They found that the quality of rice and dal made was not good. The food was half cooked. When it was discussed with the woman who prepared the meal, she said that firewood was wet and because of which the rice was half cooked. But the schoo children maintained that the meal was prepared on cooking gas. The headmaster of the school was evasive about the entire issue. When the organisation workers inquired about fruit distribution to the children on every Monday, the school authorities said it was being done regularly, but the children said that they got the fruit only once a month. When the organisation workers said that they would complain about it to district administration, the school authorities accepted their fault and assured the organisation that the mistakes would not be repeated.
During re-examination of the food after one week, it was found of good quality. The headmaster himself was observing the meal being prepared. Fruits were also being distributed properly.
MMBA and group formed under Lok Adhikar Pariyojna (Public Rights Project) together succeeded in improving the quality of the mid-day meal in the school.