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ICCO presents at Cracking the Nut Conference: improving nutrition with smartphones

The Cracking the Nut conferences are world famous participatory learning events designed to crack the “tough nuts” in international development.

ICCO presents at Cracking the Nut Conference: improving nutrition with smartphones

ICCO is pleased to announce that we will be presenting at the conference ‘Cracking the Nut’ in Thailand at March 27, started in 2011. This year’s conference focuses on reinforcing food systems to meet urban demand.

ICCO will be presenting the Manq’a Project at the Cracking the Nut Conference. In this project in Bolivia and Colombia, ICCO is working with the three most important groups in the food supply chain: small producers, cooks, and consumers. The project aims to create economic opportunities for disadvantaged youth, raise the incomes of farmers, and create and change consumer demand.

Manq’a: culinary schools in Bolivia and Colombia

Manq’a schools and their associated restaurants form the core of the project. At these schools, young men and women are trained as cooks and culinary entrepreneurs. During their training as cooks, students use locally-sourced ingredients based on forgotten traditional cuisine. This increases the demand for organic local produce and thus improves the market potential for small local farmers. The students serve the dishes they produce in the school restaurants to consumers living in peri-urban areas: in this way they get to know the local cuisine which is way healthier than their current eating habits.  

Understanding and improving nutrition with smartphones

In order to track and monitor the local diet, a mobile smartphone tool named Akvo Flow has been introduced. This tool provides real time information on project implementation and on topics as nutrition. It also monitors the impact on the long run. By collecting data in different neighborhoods with smartphones, we get to know what people eat and if they are interested in changing their eating habits. What do people have for breakfast? To what extent do people eat the healthy local produced quinoa, instead of only potatoes, meat and rice? And what do people find important when they buy a meal, how expensive it is, or how healthy it is?

At the conference ICCO will explain the advantages of using smartphones in collecting data.