Akshaya Patra: The Covid-19 Pandemic and Thereafter

Akshaya Patra: The Covid-19 Pandemic and Thereafter

Anshuman Tripathy, Avani Mishra and Shlok Sangoi

The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) headquartered in Bengaluru, India. It was founded by ISKON (religious foundation) in the year 2000 and runs the world’s largest school meal program that was serving 1.8 million children every day in 2019. In March 2020, however, as the COVID-19 pandemic struck India, the schools were shut and hence the mid-day meals were stopped. This gave rise to not only a new challenge of still continuing to feed the underprivileged children but also gave rise to different needs such as relief feeding for poor families and migrant workers. The foundation has a mission is to feed five million children every day in the near future and are challenged in not only how to scale up but also how to sustain their operations and growth (both in terms of capital expenditure and operating expenditure), especially considering that the government subsidisation of their meals (as a fraction of the total cost per meal) is only reducing.

The case aims to highlight the operational changes and challenges encountered while servicing the relief feeding demand and encourage discussion on the capabilities built as a result of this effort and more importantly on how TAPF could leverage them for furthering towards their mission and becoming a self-sustaining organisation. The case explores product modularity, types of organisations when their social impact and self-sustaining revenue capabilities are considered, evaluating the performance of Humanitarian Supply Chains, and options for transforming from a non-governmental organization to a social enterprise.

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