In Nepal, many rurals school start at 7 AM and go until 10 AM. Students then return home to eat their morning meal of rice and lentils. Unfortunately, many students live as far as 1- 1.5 hour away by foot. They often cannot return home to eat. Because many schools do not have cafeterias, schoolchildren instead eat nutritionally poor foods like chips, packaged noodles and biscuits. These procesed food keep their hunger at bay until dinnertime.
Many rural schools have very basic facilities: often just a few classrooms and usually no cafeteria. Space at a school is limited to classroom instruction, especially in more rural areas. Smartketi came up with an innovative way to feed its hungry schoolchildren. It built a smartbakery: a place on school grounds that would feed a large number of schoolchildren a healthy, and hygienic food.
Instead of building a full cafeteria, smartketi wanted to introduce an alternative way to feed schoolchildren. It wanted something that could easily be built and quickly scaled up to neighboring villages. Its features:
Instead of serving a full course meal of rice, lentils and vegetables, the smartbakery wanted to introduce a newer, quicker and innovative food item. It came up with the smartbowl, which is a vitamin and iron fortified bread bowl, filled with traditional Nepali vegetable curry. Its features:
The smartbakery opened August 2018. Although bread items are fairly new to Nepali cuisine, local schoolchildren quickly began to eat at the smartbakery daily. The taste was similar to other Nepali foods, yet it was a new type of food. The smartbakery also began to serve fruit and vegetable muffins. It plans to have a daily nutritional and health message posted everyday.
Although the smartbakery is quite new, several changes have already taken place within the local school and the community.
Smartketis visiting the local market to purchase material needed to run the smartbakery. They learned about buying material in bulk and planning menus in advance as well as negotiating.
In addition to opening their own bank accounts, the smartketis began to learn how to run a business. They had to keep a daily ledger or inventory and sales. This was an entirely new concept for them.
Smartketis learning how to run a business like how to keep its customers happy.
The smartbakery spoke with the local flour mill and talked about adding a fortification device to its existing flour mill. In this way, all flour, available in Manthali, will be more nutritious and in accordance with government fortification standards. It will also provide an opportunity for neighboring communities to buy Manthali flour and help boost its economy.
The smartbakery spoke with the local rice paper factory in Manthali about using its paper for packaging of its baked items. This paper, made from recycled paper, is made locally. The smartbakery established a recycle bin and plans to recycle this paper back to the factory.
Smartbakery ultimately plans to scale up into the schools of more remote villages, many of which do not have a reliable source of electricity. Learning from traditional ovens hundreds of years old, it hopes to perfect this natural way of baking.
On April 12, 2018, the Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, MA held an entrepreneurship competition where teams had to come up with innovative solutions to nutrition problems. The smartbakery entered this competition and won first prize. This generous grant allowed for the start-up funds for the smartbakery. Photo courtesy Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy.
The support from this competition allowed the development of the smartbakery and all upfront operating cost.
Industry and academic professionals helped boost our idea with advice and support.