Action research on spirulina as nutritional supplement to children in nilgiris




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ACTION RESEARCH ON SPIRULINA AS NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO CHILDREN IN NILGIRIS
Introduction

Spirulina is a low-fat, low-calorie, cholesterol-free source of easily digestible vegetable protein containing all the essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body but are needed to synthesize the non-essential amino acids. Spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls and is therefore easily digested and assimilated. It is called a ‘super food’ because its nutrient content is more potent than any other food. Many of the essential nutrients needed by our bodies are concentrated in spirulina. It is comprised of at least 60% all-vegetable protein, essential vitamins and phytonutrients such as the rare essential fatty acid GLA, sulfolipids, glycolipids and polysaccharides.

It is estimated that about 60% of the child population below the age of four in India are malnourished. Malnourishment is a curse on humanity. It leads to morbidity and mortality. It leads to wasted and stunted growth. It leads to various forms of disabilities. A malnourished child when he/she grows up will not be able to develop all its potentials and will not be able to become a skilled and involved youth, young adult, parent and a leader who bring lasting and positive change in his/her community.


ChildFund India has been giving a lot of emphasis on elimination of mal-nutrition in the communities with whom it works. The causes of malnutrition are the lack of healthy and balanced food, lack of knowledge on child rearing and caring practices. Hence ChildFund had planned to conduct an Action Research on the impact of Spirulina on Children between 2 to 5 years covering roughly 400 children in the Nilgiris District in Tamil Nadu and Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh.

Objectives


  • To make available of low cost and a complete nutritional supplementary food for the children.




  • Creating awareness among parents about the low cost nutritional supplement.




  • To check whether Spirulina provides the said nutritional supplements to the children.




  • To bring a comparative research results on the effectiveness of Spirulina on children.



Identical – Methodology



  • Identification of target children for experimental group excluding the children affected with HIV and TB.




  • Identification of target children for control group excluding the children affected with HIV and TB




  • Collection of Anthropometric and Clinical Symptoms data by Medical Officers of the Partners.




  • Orienting Staff involving in monitoring of the research.










  • Creating a monitoring tool for recording the weekly developments among both experimental and control groups.




  • Distribution of Spirulina Candies to Experimental Group




  • Distribution of Ordinary Chikkies ( Ordinary Candy may cause for degrading the nutritional status) to Control Group




  • After the completion of Research, Children’s from Control Group will be given Spirulina for next 6 months.




  • During the research period parents of experimental groups children’s will be oriented and given awareness to purchase the candies for the children after the research period.




  • Regular monitoring of Height, Weight, Head Circumference and other growth parameters of both groups.




  • Monthly Reporting on the progress of research




  • At the end of the research period separate analysis of monitoring data of both the groups.




  • Comparative analysis of the research findings.




  • Thematic and analytical documentation of the research.







  • Submission of the Research Report to ChildFund India



Technical Supporting Organization


Department of Food Science and Nutrition.

Will provide support with Two Field Investigator and Consultancy



  • Mahila University, Tirupathi.

Home Science Department.

Protocol


  • ChildFund India will conduct the research with the support of its partners Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association – NAWA and RASS Balaji Bala Vikas – RASS BBV.




  • ChildFund India and its partners will engage the services of Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women, Coimbatore. Department of Food Science and Nutrition and Mahila University, Tirupathi. Home Science Department as technical partners to carryout the research.




  • A Terms of Reference (TOR) may be signed with the technical agency.




  • ChildFund India and its Partners will seek the Professional Expertise of Antenna Nutritech Foundation during the research period.




  • The Two ChildFund India Partners NAWA and RASS BBV will adopt similar methodologies and procedures to carryout the research




  • Village will taken as a unit for research







  • ChildFund India and its partners will exclude Children below the age of 2 years and above the age of 5 Years and children’s with HIV and TB from the research.




  • Medical Doctors will be engaged by both the ChildFund India Partners for collection and analysis of data.




  • Right from the preliminary investigation to the final submission of the report all the data and study materials related to the research shall be kept confidential by the ChildFund India partners until its submission to ChildFund India.



Time Line





  • Distribution of Spirulina Candies and Chikkies to Target group from February 2010 to July 2010.




  • Submission of Final Report by end of August 2010.



Budget for one research center (NAWA)


Sl. No.

Particulars

Amount

1

Research Staff (M.Sc Nutrition) – (Rs.8000/- per Month for 8 Months) – Rs.8000/- X 8

64,000

2

Research Assistants – 2 Members (Rs.3000/- Per Month for 6 Months) – Rs.3000/- X 2 X 6

36,000

3

Honorarium to Field Investigators and Office Staff – 3 Members (Rs.3000/- Per Month for 6 Months) – Rs.3000/- X 3 X 6

54,000

4

Purchase of Spirulina Candies – (200 children for 180 + 180 days @ 0.75 Paise per Candy) two candies for a child – 200 X 180 X 180 X 0.75 X 2

1,08,000

5

Purchase of Chikkies – (200 children for 180 days @ 0.50 Paise per Candy) two candies for a child – 200 X 180 X 0.50 X 2

36,000

6

Travel and Transport for 6 Months

60,000

7

Stationeries

10,000

8

Contingencies (Testing Weight for Age, Height for Age and Head Circumference)

51,000




TOTAL

4,19,000


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