The Antenna Trust was established with the strategic, technical and financial support of Antenna Technologies in Geneva, Switzerland. Today it manages several programmes in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Spirulina and social marketing programmes
The objective of the Antenna Trust is to empower rural women and children in combating malnutrition through the local production and distribution of spirulina. The Antenna research centre on spirulina production in Madurai conducts clinical tests on the effectiveness of spirulina. It also runs training programmes on its production.
Ecopark: a centre where micro-gardening, spirulina and microcredit converge
The Ecopark in Madurai aims to promote the technological and financial means to reduce extreme poverty and malnutrition. The values of sustainable development and maximising local traditions are core to the project.
The Ecopark site occupies two hectares of land, where some 30 people work on a range of activities:
- Awareness-raising on environmental and health issues for women and children
- Spirulina cultivation: spirulina is grown in about 10 growth ponds of some 20 m² each. The monthly harvest is 50 kg. It is given to children in doses of one gram daily, an amount sufficient for children to recover from vitamin A and iron deficiencies. Several villages already operate a production farm in collaboration with Ecopark.
- Cultivation of medicinal plants and herbs
- Market gardening in family plots
- Training in nutrition and cultivation in nutrition gardens. Women are taught how to improve their family’s daily nutritional diet with the available resources, to prepare balanced menus and to include spirulina in meals and in weaning foods.
- Fish farming: one autonomous project is underway in raising and marketing ornamental fish, providing a unique learning opportunity for children.
- Microcredit: facilitating access to microcredit for rural women, in order to strengthen the local rural economy, as well as boost their autonomy.