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FAO's conceptual understanding of School Gardens

What does a national School Garden programme need?

How do School Gardens relate with other child and youth-centred interventions?

What assistance does FAO offer?


How do School Gardens relate with other child and youth-centred interventions?
School Gardens and School Feeding

School feeding (SF) is a powerful tool to alleviate short-term hunger as well as increase school enrolment and attendance, and prevent school drop-out. SF also facilitates community participation on other school interventions that respond to a long-term perspective and are based on small-scale actions, such as School Gardens.

School gardening is considered an important complement to school feeding programmes for the learning opportunities it offers and its production function (generally, SF programmes do not provide fresh, perishable vegetables and fruits, but rather staple, dried, and canned food).

Thus, School Gardens can complement school feeding programmes and enhance their long-term impact in terms of children's health/nutritional status and learning achievements. However, one needs to keep in mind that School Gardens are first and foremost an educational tool. Therefore School Gardens should not be regarded as an exit strategy to school feeding.

For more information click here.

Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS)

Better learning and higher enrolment in primary schools are a priority to most governments. However, for children in remote and poor rural areas, regular schooling remains a dream. This is because the school may be too far away, the families may not be able to afford school fees or uniforms or the children are needed to work at the families' farms.

FAO, in partnership with WFP, developed Junior Farmers Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) because it was alarmed at the steady increase of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in rural areas affected by HIV/AIDS in eastern and southern Africa. FAO developed this project to meet the special needs of these children and out-of-school youth.
FAO photo/M. Fiorabanti
At the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools, orphans are encouraged to learn by doing.

The JFFLS programme uses a participatory learning approach that attempts to empower orphans through agricultural and life skills training and to enhance children's self-esteem. Equal numbers of boys and girls, about 30 in total, meet with a facilitator's team consisting of agricultural extension worker, primary school teacher and social animator once or twice a week. Here, they learn themes which are relevant to their future food security and livelihoods.

An important aspect of the JFFLS is the integrated learning of agricultural life cycles and human and social life cycles. Through social and cultural activities and intensive team building processes through drama, songs, theatre and dances, the JFFLS participants improve their life skills, such as (re-)building self-esteem, gender equality, trust and protecting themselves against exploitation and HIV-risky behaviour.

For more information, please see the following web sites:

Schools for life: training HIV/AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa - Fighting hunger and poverty with farming know-how and life skills
Schools for life: Harvesting for life video clip (duration: 8 min 30 sec)
Children orphaned by AIDS: improving their Food Security through Junior Farmer Field Schools
HIV/AIDS and Food Security
Best Practices: Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools
Community Integrated Pest Management
Last updated: Saturday, September 30th, 2006  FAO, 2006.