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Key Partners in the Development of a School Garden Programme

Within FAO, the key services involved in current school gardens activities are:

Other UN organizations and inter-institutional linkages

Cooperation between different UN System organizations will increase the outreach and effectiveness of school garden programmes. Means of cooperation at country level may include:

WFP has had school gardens associated with its school feeding programmes in a number of countries. A novel partnership is currently being forged by FAO and WFP to expand the number of schools and countries linking school gardens with school feeding programmes. This synergistic collaboration will build on the complementary strengths and capacities of the two organizations. FAO can provide technical expertise and backstopping in the area of horticulture, school gardens, community gardens, urban and peri-urban agriculture and HIV-impact mitigation. The organization may furthermore enhance medium and long term programme sustainability through linkages to FAO-assisted medium and long term national agricultural development programmes and unilateral trust funds. WFP enters the partnership with extensive experience in initiating school canteens and PTAs for school feeding, an efficient logistics network to provide general commodities and materials to schools, as well as the organization's capacity to support community involvement and casual labour through food for work schemes. A number of countries have been identified for inclusion in pilot and expansion phases of the partnership programme. Efforts are under way to plan and implement a programme of pre-pilot activities, initially using existing resources (e.g. TeleFood, etc.), as well as pilot programmes funded by FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). Funding support from donors to implement a medium-term programme is being sought.

The school garden initiative is related also to the global flagship partnership programme on “Education for Rural People (ERP)” led by FAO in collaboration with UNESCO and launched in 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The ERP initiative, which includes among its partners governments, international organizations, civil society, the media, and the private sector, aims at expanding access to quality basic education for rural people. ERP includes formal and non formal education, and, specifically, primary and basic secondary education, as well as literacy and basic skill training for youth and adults. ERP is one of nine flagship programmes of the Education for All global initiative and one important aspect of the International Alliance Against Hunger. School gardens can contribute to achieving the aims of the ERP initiative and can benefit from the existence of such a framework.

In addition to partnership programmes with WFP and UNESCO described above, other school programmes of UN System organizations include the UNICEF “Child Survival and Development Programme” (water, tools and inputs, teaching materials, health and nutrition), and the UNESCO “Associated School Project Network” (ASPnet). Launched in 1953, the ASPnet is a worldwide network grouping children and young people from 5 000 schools in 154 countries. Furthermore WHO promotes life skills and school gardens within its “Global School Health Initiative”. FAO and UNICEF jointly promote school gardens and provide nutritional care and support for HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children. CGIAR centres such as IFPRI and ICRAF, the International Centre for Child Health, the World Bank, and the UN University also have school programmes.

The “Partnership for Child Development” was established in 1992 to help coordinate global efforts to assess the developmental burden of ill health and poor nutrition at school age. It brings together a consortium of countries, donor organizations and centres of academic excellence to design and test strategies to improve the health and education of school-age children. The Partnership has international agency support from UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, The World Bank and British DFID, and is sustained through support from participating governments, the Rockefeller, Edna McConnell Clark and James S. McDonnell Foundations and the Welcome Trust. One of the tasks of the programme is to examine the content, coverage, effectiveness and cost of school feeding programmes and school gardens.

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