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about us

The MTK model is a nutrition education tool which aims to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition. It improves diet and health outcomes in underserved and marginalised communities with various socioeconomic backgrounds.

 

Recognising the critical link between access to food and financial stability, the Mobile Teaching Kitchen Initiative strives to educate community members on nutritional best practices. It equips them with the necessary skills to generate income through microentrepreneurship. This dual strategy fosters self-sufficiency and provides a sustainable solution to the cyclical barriers of limited food access and financial constraints.

 

The programme serves as a community hub for malnutrition prevention, health promotion and disease prevention. With grassroots action research, the MTK trains marginalised women to become micro-entrepreneurs and culinary health educators, with the potential to improve Nutrition-related Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) across multiple sectors of society. The initiative takes a multifaceted approach to tackle pressing issues such as food insecurity, malnutrition, and the economic challenges stemming from low income and lack of income.

 

The MTK model directly impacts the lives and livelihoods of participating communities and strengthens community resilience by facilitating knowledge around access to lower-cost healthy diets and associated information on adopting healthier dietary patterns, thereby improving food and nutrition security.

How the MTK works

Step 1: The MTK's team of nutritionists, doctors and dieticians study a region's local cuisine, food cultures, eating habits and costs. Research is then done to understand and fulfil the dietary requirements of the community, contributing towards preventing nutrition-related diseases whilst creating low-cost recipes.

 

Step 2: The team share their knowledge and skills by training local volunteers. They, in turn, pass these learning points on to the beneficiaries, showing them how to cook a nutritious meal and delivering simple dietary messages around this. This step leads to the creation of MTK Champions, ready to improve the diet of their community.

 

Step 3: Implementation of the SODOTO model: See one, Do one and Teach one. The "See one" step involves participants observing how to cook the meal, taking on board the process and nutrition advice given. "Do one" consists in getting hands-on, cooking the meal themselves, again listening to the advice they would give and confirming their understanding. "Teach one" involves getting together with the community and showing all that they have learned up to this point.

 

Step 4: By the end of three training sessions, the participants can teach others about their newfound knowledge and culinary skills. With some minor further training, they can establish a selling platform to sustain the project's impact, selling healthy food with a side dish of nutrition education.

Step 5: The Champions receive microentrepreneurship, project management, and event planning training. With the newly acquired knowledge, the participants can set up small businesses and generate a livelihood for themselves and their families. 

Why do we need the MTK?

The initiative originated in the city of Kolkata, India, in 2017. Like the rest of the world, Kolkata struggled with the three overlapping and intertwined forms of under and over-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. NNEdPro performed landscape surveys and found significant micronutrient deficiencies in undernourished, slum-dwelling populations and co-existing metabolic syndrome; the found cause was the high consumption of fast food as part of their diet, which often contained large amounts of pesticides. The core scientific principles of tackling malnutrition are well-studied. However, such knowledge is difficult to translate into practical advice that the broader population can action due to mixed messages in mainstream media or the complex way science communities report their findings. 

MTKi's integration of microenterprise and project management training transformed lives by unlocking economic potential. This aspect of the programme was particularly crucial as it empowered community members to create income-generating opportunities, elevated their financial status, and initiated a ripple effect of prosperity beyond individual beneficiaries to entire communities. MTKi stands at the forefront of a transformative movement that combats nutritional deficits and ignites economic growth for those who need it most.

With the success of the MTK in Kolkata, we are adapting and scaling the model to multiple locations, planning to reach more people and impact the health of more communities. MTK's main focus is on attention to cost, sustainability, nutrition completeness in a single meal, palatability and ease of preparation.

awards

2017: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Award 

2017: British Medical Association (BMA) Research Charities Award

2018: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Joint Award

2018: University of Cambridge Interdisciplinary Research Centre Project Incubation Award

2019: University of Cambridge Interdisciplinary Research Symposium 1st Prize

2019: Highly Commended - Emerald Interdisciplinary Research Awards

2021: University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor's Awards for Research Impact and Collaboration - The TIGR2ESS Collaborative, including NNEdPro & the Mobile Teaching Kitchens

2022: 2022 SNEB Nutrition Education Program Impact Award

2023 Finalist: The Glenmark Nutrition Awards

2024 EIT-EU Proof of Concept Award: Mobile Teaching Kitchen

publications

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