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Schoolchildren in the Syrian Arab Republic change attitudes on healthy diets and growing food

In the Syrian Arab Republic, where agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, schoolchildren learn about agricultural practices, various types of food, the importance of healthy diets and the nutritional value of food as part of their curriculum

The students are collecting spinach leaves to bake fresh fatayer. ©FAO/Hasan Bi
13/05/2019

Educating young people about healthy food consumption and food production processes can change perspectives on growing food and increase awareness on the importance of healthy diets. Moreover, developing simple techniques for local communities to grow food in their own small backyards allows them secure an adequate supply of nutritious food in the future.

In the Syrian Arab Republic, where agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, schoolchildren learn about agricultural practices, various types of food, the importance of healthy diets and the nutritional value of food as part of their curriculum. However, many schools lack a space where they can gain hands-on experience growing fruit and vegetables. To change this, the Government of Japan supported the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to design and implement a project to establish gardens in public schools. The project also included in-class lectures and training sessions with a practical component to teach schoolchildren and teachers how to follow planting instructions and improve their understanding of nutrition. More than 3 000 students, their teachers and families in Homs and Rural Damascus governorates benefitted from this project–teachers’ developed their educational practices and schoolchildren gained technical and experiential knowledge on growing food in a 200 m2 space.

“The future of food security in the Syrian Arab Republic will become brighter when children have a better understanding of nutrition-sensitive agriculture and healthy diets concepts. Through the establishment of school gardens under the “Education for All” programme, with the support of the Government of Japan, children will appreciate food more because they grew their own vegetables, maybe for the first time in their lives and we do hope they carry these positive practices forward into the future,” said Mike Robson, FAO Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic.

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