Raising awareness of pulses in Brava and Boa Vista Islands

Cabo Verde celebrates a successful International Year of Pulses

School teachers and managers, community leaders and local stakeholders came together in Cabo Verde in the last weeks of December to celebrate the International Year of Pulses (IYP) with several awareness raising events.

This awareness-raising campaign aimed at educating children and adolescents about the importance of healthy nutrition habits, including the regular consumption of local pulses.  It also discussed how pulses benefit the environment, for example supporting biodiversity, mitigating climate change, preserving water in agricultural practices, protecting soils, and providing byproducts for animal feed.

As part of the campaign, FAO hosted two IYP seminars on the islands of Brava and Boa Vista with the support of SIDS Youth AIMS Hub (SYAH) Cabo Verde and the Nutritionists National Association, and in collaboration with the Government of Cabo Verde, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Municipal Governments of the islands where the activities took place.

Participants who attended the seminar in each island committed to conveying and disseminating to local schools and community centers relevant information on the benefits of pulses. Participants from Boa Vista went further, elaborating a follow-up plan that includes a Pulses Fair and Exhibition to be organized in the Sal Rei City high school in 2017. This exhibition will share the information from the seminar with the wider public in order to help students and families learn about the nutritional and environmental benefits of regularly consuming pulses.

In parallel, FAO also organized consultative meetings with the Delegations of the Ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture and Environment, as well as with the Municipal Governments and other key stakeholders, including local NGOs and the Community Radio Stations, to keep them informed of these activities and ensure their continued support.

Two community radio stations, the Community Radio of Espargos in Sal Island and the Community Radio Voice of Boa Vista in Boa Vista Island, recorded in-depth programs about the IYP. These programs included interviews with FAO staff and provided educational information on pulses.

In addition, FAO’s Cabo Verde office adapted some of the IYP material to a local context for teachers to use as educational materials. These materials were distributed to primary and secondary Schools in the islands of Santiago, Maio, Sal, Brava and Boa Vista. These materials were welcomed and FAO has since received additional requests for materials from other schools.

During the 2016 World Food Day this past October, the Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Gilberto Silva, and the FAO Representative in Cabo Verde, Rémi Nono Womdim, as well as several policymakers and key stakeholders from government, civil society, universities and other United Nations agencies participated in a session about the IYP. This session reinforced the vital component of country engagement that has since been crucial to organizing more activities on the IYP. As a result of this engagement, the Government of Cabo Verde continues to support the mission of the IYP and has scheduled a National Forum on Pulses for early 2017 that will be convened with the support of FAO.