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Nutrition workshop helps Syrian refugees improve diets

Various studies show that Syrian refugees often try to cope with such economic challenges as high living costs and irregular income by reducing the diversity of food they consume. This can negatively affect their health, particularly among pregnant women and children whose nutritional needs are greatest.

To help mitigate this, an event for refugees was held recently in Sanliurfa, Turkey, to share practical knowledge on healthy diets by demonstrating simple and affordable nutritious recipes using locally available ingredients. The event was organized by FAO together with the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan as part of a project to build resilience among Syrian refugees funded by the Government of Japan.

To use their resources efficiently and achieve healthy diets and lives, it is important that Syrian refugees understand good diets and know how to prevent nutrition-related diseases.

“This training event helps project participants learn practical nutritional knowledge and recipes based on the culinary culture of the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey,” said Keigo Obara, a food security officer at FAO.

Syrian and Turkish diets typically use lots of healthy ingredients, such as beans, vegetables and whole grains.

At the training, Ebru Baybara Demir – a celebrity chef in Turkey who is well-known nationwide – demonstrated two simple and affordable nutritious recipes using locally available ingredients such as lentil beans and parsley.

Invited to the event were 75 beneficiaries who already had gone through a training on food processing provided by FAO partner Beltur organization in Sanliurfa. Educational material, including facts and tips on healthy diets, was distributed to the participants.

“I learned how to cook for myself when I’m alone at home, and I benefitted a lot from this training,” said Sirin Muhammad, who participated in the event and was awarded a certificate at the end of the training. “I would always love to spread my knowledge when I learn something. For example, if I learn how to cook, I want to teach the people around me – my family, my sister and my friends.”

This training event, titled “Demonstration of easy, healthy and nutritious meals for Syrian refugees and host communities,” was part of the project “Resilience building via increased livelihoods opportunities and strengthened social cohesion for Syrian refugees and host communities” funded by the Government of Japan.

13 February 2019, Sanliurfa, Turkey

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