FAO position

FAO is the lead agency for the Education for Rural People (ERP) flagship since education is the key to sustainable development, food security and poverty reduction.

Education is an essential prerequisite for reducing poverty, improving agriculture and the living conditions of rural people and building a food-secure world.

FAO through the Education for Rural People Flagship gives its technical support to countries willing to address the basic educational needs for rural people within the overall effort of Poverty Reduction and Education for All strategies.

Field work

FAO provides technical assistance to member countries implementing school gardens and school-feeding programmes, which can encourage school attendance and bring direct nutritional benefits to children. The main objective of school gardens is active learning, often transmitting to parents and other interested community members innovative gardening techniques. When school gardens produce enough to complement children’s diets, they are sometimes linked to school feeding programmes. In most cases, the school garden is an area of land within the school grounds or nearby. Vegetables, flowers, medicinal plants, trees, bushes and other plants are usually grown. Occasionally, small animals such as ducks, rabbits, chickens, goats and fish are kept in the school garden. In cities where schools have limited space or lack open earth, the school garden can consist of plants growing in containers. FAO has produced a manual for teachers, parents and communities on Setting up and running a school garden. See at http://www.fao.org/schoolgarden/sglibrary_en.htm..

Key facts

Over four out of five of the at least 72 million children of primary school age who are not in school live in rural areas.

An estimated 774 million adults – two-thirds of whom are women – lack basic literacy skills and the majority of them are rural.

The majority of illiterate children, youth and adults live in rural areas and are involved in ensuring food security for themselves and the wider community while lacking equitable access to quality basic education. Those most likely to drop out of school or to not attend at all are often girls and those from poorer households living in rural areas, as per graphic below.