by Katia Noseck Sommer
and Johanne Lortie
in collaboration with
"Informal Task Force on Education and Food for All"1
Part 1 of 3
1 2 3
Also available in French
More than 800 million people do not have access to enough food to meet their basic requirements, and about the same number of adults are illiterate, while about 130 million children are out of school. Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity and sustainable progress in poverty eradication is critical in improving access to food. More than 1.3 billion people worldwide live in poverty and nearly three fourths of them live in rural areas. Virtually all of them depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. Since the poor and the food insecure are in most cases also the less educated, education, and specifically basic education, can bring a key contribution to the reduction of poverty and hunger and the fostering of rural development.
FAO's strategy and key ideas for support to education and training have emerged from a learning process through dialogue with the international community and reflection on a wide range of valuable experience gained through FAO supported programmes and projects throughout the world. FAO has for many years been supporting activities which fall within the concept of basic education. A recent research study by the SDRE, FAO, has analysed and extracted lessons learned from many of these activities. FAO has built up a solid record of support for basic education, and now provides the basis for a newly articulated approach, illustrated by the experiences presented in this resource.
A diverse range of programmes and activities is described in these pages. The organisation of this resource is based on a framework (see below) which is in keeping with the overall systemic approach suggested by FAO.
As a contribution to the world-wide effort to enable rural people to improve their lives and livelihoods, the Strategic Framework for FAO, 2000-2015, has been developed. This includes statements about the vision, mission and values of FAO, as well as FAO's Corporate Strategies and an Implementation Programme for the Strategic Framework. In particular, Chapter E of the Strategic Framework on Knowledge Management provides the platform from which education and training activities within FAO's program of work and budget can be conceived and launched.
FAO identifies the following as key areas for action:
FAO believes that this strategy will make a significant contribution to global human development and food security, being based on a number of key ideas, which infuse FAO's support to education and training:
The 1990s were a decade of renewed commitment to the goal of global, sustainable human development, guided by three main indicators; longevity, educational attainment and standards of living. Several important international events took place2, which aimed to further the achievement of this goal. Among them the following three are of particular importance:
The Jomtien Conference of 1990 identified "Education for All" as the critical strategy in the struggle to establish this development process. Amongst a wide range of reforms, the Jomtien declaration stated that "Every person - child, youth and adult - shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs" by:
"Education for All" was intended to focus on basic education, ranging through early childhood and primary education, with an emphasis on literacy, population, health and agriculture "skills for life". The Dakar World Education Forum (2-28 April 2000) renewed the Jomtien commitment and indicated the path for the next 15 years on.
The World Food Summit, held in Rome in November 1996, was called in response to the continued existence of widespread under-nutrition and growing concern about the capacity of agriculture to meet future food needs. The Summit provided a forum for debate on one of the most important issues facing world leaders in the new millennium - the imperative of eradicating hunger. The Summit ended with the adoption of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action. This provided a framework for bringing about important changes in policies and programmes needed to achieve Food for All, and specifically contributing to achieving the target of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by no later than the year 2015. The Plan of Action explicitly and repeatedly refers to basic education as a key element in the achievement of its aims. Unfortunately, current data indicates that the number of undernourished is falling at a rate of 8 million each year, far below the average rate of 20 million per year needed to reach the World Food Summit target. Although headway has been made and some striking success stories exist in individual countries and communities, much remains to be done.
This is why, at this year's World Food Summit: five years later, (5-9 November 2001) participants will review progress made towards that goal and consider ways to accelerate the process.
"The purpose of this event is to give new impetus to world-wide efforts on behalf of hungry people," says FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "We must raise both the political will and the financial resources to fight hunger. The international community has repeatedly declared that it is dedicated to the eradication of poverty. Eliminating hunger is a vital first step."
The United Nation Conference on Environment and Development (Agenda 21, Rio, 1992) which adopted a resolution on Education, Public Awareness and Training, stressing the crucial role of education, and specifically of basic education for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of countries to address environment and development issues.
In the period since these important events, great progress has been made in many countries throughout the world towards the twin goals of "Education for All" and "Food for All". However, there is still much to be achieved. Indeed, in some countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, the situation is actually worsening. And, according to FAO (2000), the problem is magnified in rural areas, compared with urban areas, where:
The cases which follow cover a range of education and training approaches for tackling the capacity needs of children and adults in dealing with food security and rural development. Some are school based while others target adult with varying levels of education achievement. Hopefully, readers of the cases will gain insights and ideas which may be applied to their specific attempts to achieve the goals espoused by FAO related to Education and Food for All in an attempt to improve food security and bring about rural development.
Focus 1: Nutrition and health
Title: Nutrition education in primary schools
Title: Programme on Nutrition Education in Primary Schools in Developing Countries (NEPS)
Title: Healthy Nutrition: An Essential Element of a Health Promoting School
Title: Education in Primary Schools - ZAMBIA
Title: Get the Best From Your Food - POLAND - RUSSIA FEDERATION- PORTUGAL
Focus 2: Agriculture/forestry
Title: EcoPort: A tool for Education - TONGA
Title: Kitchen Gardening for Better Nutrition - BHUTAN
Title: TeleFood School Projects - ARMENIA
Title: TeleFood Project -Liberia School Farming - LIBERIA
Title: Los Institutos Technicos Comunitarios Del Sur Del Departamento de Lempira - HONDURAS
Focus 3: Environment
Title: EarthBird: Future Forests Environmental Education Materials
Title: Rangeland Rehabilitation and Establishment of a Wildlife Reserve - SYRIA
Focus 6: Integrated approaches
Title: Mejoramiento de la Alimentacịn Escolar y Familiar
con Sistemas Agroforestales Integrados; Improvement of School and Family Nutrition through Integrated Agro-Forestry Systems - PANAMA
Title: World Food Day FAO Educational Materials - CANADA
Focus 4: Community development -
Title: Training youth for Sustainable Livelihoods - NAMIBIA
Focus 1: Nutrition and health
Title: Community Participatory Project Involving School Aged Children
Title: Community Nutrition Project - VIETNAM
Title: Community Participatory Project Involving School Aged Children. Household food security and nutrition in the Luapula Valley - ZAMBIA
Title: Participatory development of a household food security and nutrition improvement programme in Kano State - NIGERIA
Title: Social communication on nutrition through agricultural extension - MOROCCO
Title: Nutrition education at community level - SUDAN
Title: Food and Nutrition Guidelines - NAMIBIA
Focus 4: Community development
Title: Environmental and Life Skills education for children from rural communities through IPM Student Field Schools - THAILAND - CAMBODIA - PHILIPPINES - BANGLADESH
Title: FAO Supports Rural Radio Stations - MALI
Title: Communication for Rural Development: Pedagogia Masiva Multimedial Para La Capacitacion de los Agricultores - MEXICO - COSTA RICA - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Focus 5: Business management
Title: Enhancing women's managerial skills for small scale business enterprises through numeracy and simple bookkeeping training - GHANA - TOGO
Strategies: Training of trainers, curriculum development, awareness raising
Nutrition education has been recognised as an essential element in the prevention and control of diet-related problems. Addressing schoolchildren effectively as a priority group is particularly important because:
FAO and the Netherlands Nutrition Centre prepared a questionnaire that was sent to 55 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Near East. Eighty replies were received from 50 countries, from ministries of education and health, universities and national programmes and non-governmental organizations involved in nutrition education. Findings of the survey have been described in the FAO journal Food, Nutrition and Agriculture (22, 1998) and are summarised below.
Countries with nutrition education policies reported these as part of their general education and health policies; nutrition was not a mandatory school subject assigned a specific time or structure. The methods normally employed in primary schools that teach nutrition are conventional modules with explanations and group activities or discussions. Less than one-third of the countries use nutrition guides and recommendations in primary-school nutrition education. Perhaps the most critical finding was the lack of teacher training in nutrition education. Less than half the Latin American and Asian countries reported the inclusion of nutrition in teacher training. The situation was better in the Caribbean, Africa and the Near East.
The constraints and problems of getting schools to encourage children and their families to adopt healthy eating habits and lifestyles continue as before. Greater efforts are needed if children are to decide to adopt healthy eating habits. Policy-maker support for related teacher training, through systematic programmes with sufficient coverage and continuity, and the inclusion of nutrition in school curricula, with allotment of adequate time and a focus on tangible results rather than just increased awareness, are needed more than ever to deal with existing nutrition problems and to prevent chronic diet-related diseases, which are becoming increasingly common as a result of new lifestyles and eating habits. Education represents the best strategy for overcoming these problems.
Strategies: Training of trainers; curriculum development
Media: Printed materials
In many countries nutrition education in primary schools is poorly practised and therefore needs strengthening. Apart from receiving insufficient time in the overall curriculum, the effectiveness of nutrition education is inadequate because often educational models are applied which are limited to disseminating nutrition-related information and, thus, addressing cognitive skills only. Where necessary, this will hardly ever lead to changes in food-related attitudes and behaviours.
If behavioural change in dietary patterns is to be achieved the motivation to pursue dietary changes needs to be addressed . Factors affecting motivation include cultural and social expectations, attitudes, beliefs, values, self-esteem, self-efficacy (which is confidence in achieving diet changes) and the perception of results associated with diet changes. These factors, along with the opinions and behaviours of peers and the community, have an impact on nutritional well-being and, therefore, need to be considered also in school-based nutrition education if it is to be effective.
Promoting such a comprehensive approach, FAO's Food and Nutrition Division (ESN), in collaboration with the Netherlands Nutrition Centre has begun preparing a series of materials that will support the development and implementation of practical and effective nutrition education in primary schools in developing countries. The first document in this series is a "Planning Guide" which will assist professionals at district and school level, but also at national level, to develop nutrition education curricula which take both, local needs and possibilities, as well as current knowledge on behavioural change into account. The Planning Guide is about curriculum development and addresses other educational issues, but does not consider technical nutrition information itself. This Planning Guide is expected to be available in English language by the end of 2001; other language versions will follow. In due time, the Planning Guide will be complemented by a Manual for a 1-week training course, which is meant to prepare professionals for their role as facilitators in the curriculum planning process based on the Planning Guide.
As the materials so far in process consider the whole planning process and give an overview of topics and objectives from which to choose, but do not consider "technical nutrition science" information, a "Resource Book for Teachers" is planned to be developed in the near future and provide samples of teaching materials in nutrition.
For further information, please contact: Peter.Glasauer@fao.org
Strategies: Policy dialogue/awareness raising
Media: Printed Materials
Investments in schools are intended to yield benefits to communities, nations and individuals. Such benefits include improved social and economic development, increased productivity and enhanced quality of life. In many parts of the world, such investments are not achieving their full potential, despite increased enrolments and hard work by committed teachers and administrators. This document describes how educational investments can be enhanced, by increasing the capacity of schools to promote health as they do learning. Education and food are fundamental conditions for health, as recognised by the World Declaration on Nutrition adopted by the International Conference on Nutrition (1992) and the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986). Health, education and nutrition support enhance each other. For instance, healthy nutrition improves educational potential. Unhealthy nutrition and related infections can lead to diseases of malnutrition, which in turn reduce the educational potential. Thus, nutrition is an essential element of a Health-Promoting School in order to increase the health and learning potential of students, families and other community members.
This document is part of a technical series on school health promotion prepared for WHO's Global School Health Initiative, and is published jointly by WHO with FAO and Education International (Brussels, Belgium). Education and health agencies are encouraged to use this document to strengthen nutrition interventions as part of the Global School Health Initiative's goal: to help all schools become Health-Promoting Schools. (A Health-Promoting School can be characterised as a school constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.)
This document can be used by:
Sections 2 and 3 of this document can be used to argue for healthy nutrition and nutrition interventions in schools. Section 4 helps create a strong basis for local action and for planning interventions that are relevant to the needs and circumstances of the school and community. Section 5 gives more specific details of how to integrate health promotion efforts into various components of a Health Promoting School and section 6 assists in evaluating efforts to make health promotion and healthy nutrition an essential part of a Health-Promoting School. Both the Annex and References provide rich resource material for school health planners and teachers.
For more information:
A copy of this document may be downloaded from the WHO Internet Site at:
Contact at FAO: Peter.Glasauer@fao.orgPeter.Glasauer@fao.org
Strategies: Training of trainers, curriculum development, material development
Zambia is a nation with a young population. Out of the total population of approximately 9.2 million, almost half (48 percent) are under fifteen years of age3. As a high proportion of the population is of school age, there is an opportunity to impart life-long knowledge and skills regarding healthy eating and lifestyle. Nutritional deficiencies impede children's capacity and motivation to learn and, as a result, a high number of children do not achieve class goals as expected or leave school early. The two most common forms of malnutrition in Zambia are protein-energy malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies. Global strategy for school health calls for a reorientation of health policy for school children in developing countries such as Zambia and urges governments to make the school a healthy setting for living, learning and working.
A national school health and nutrition program has been launched by the Government in Zambia. Activities include the development of: policy; production of health and nutrition education materials; teacher training; revitalising school production units; and a series of pilot interventions including food supplementation, physical examination, de-worming and health and nutrition education. Technical and management expertise from different sources will be combined to create an innovative primary school curriculum aiming at promoting adequate diets and healthy lifestyles for eventual nation-wide application and use.
Curriculum development planners, education officials, teacher trainers and teachers from various disciplines at national and district levels work together in the preparation of a nutrition education curriculum, using FAO's Planning Guide (see above) as a guiding instrument, to introduce food and nutrition education into the school curriculum. At the local level, schoolteachers, children and their parents will gain the knowledge and skills to select, prepare and eat healthy diets and conduct a lifestyle promoting good health and nutritional well being.
This programme started in June 2000, and will be completed in March 2002. It is carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and its Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), and the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC).
Specifically, the program aims to:
The main activities of the programme were to:
For further information, contact Ellen Muehlhoff; e-mail: Ellen.Muehlhoff@fao.org FAO/ ESPN Headquarters
Strategies: Curriculum development; awareness raising
Media: Video; printed materials
A very important issue of concern to nutrition educators is to find out how they can realistically help people to make better choices about the food they eat and to feel good about making such choices. Following the International Conference on Nutrition, convened in Rome in December 1992, FAO launched a public information campaign entitled "Get the Best from Your Food". This ongoing initiative with its positive, simple and direct messages, includes food-based nutrition education materials that can be adapted locally for public information campaigns, school curricula and other training opportunities. The concept is intended to promote better dietary patterns among all age groups and to encourage sound, practical approaches to learning about foods and nutrition. The focus of the package, which has now been translated into 17 languages, is found in four key messages: "Enjoy a variety of food"; "Eat to meet your needs"; "Protect the quality and safety of your food"; and "Keep active and stay fit . Sample projects illustrate how the FAO, Get the Best from Your Food package is being used in schools in different countries, as described below.
Poland: February-April 1996, four experimental lessons with a detailed conspectus and teaching aids were prepared by the faculty of Human Nutrition of Warsaw Agricultural University, based on FAO nutritional education package. A nutrition education study to test the usefulness of these educational materials was conducted in three randomly selected schools in Warsaw, comparing the FAO materials with another lesson form using conversation, a leaflet and video film. A total of 112 girls and 84 boys, age 13 to 14 years of age were tested. Students found the Get the best from your food leaflet to be an interesting and useful set of information on food and nutrition in everyday life. Teachers thought there was a need for lessons on similar topics, especially for younger children (e.g. ten-year-olds). According to the teachers, recognition of the importance of nutrition has increased in recent years, as proved by the increased interest of young people in the subject.
For further information: www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/ECONOMIC/ESN/fna24/fna24-e.htm#Poland
Russia Federation: In collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the National Centre of Preventive Medicine in the Russian Federation tested the FAO package Get the best from your food in Moscow. The aim of the investigation was to determine whether the guide was understood by Russian school students, teachers and parents. The study evaluated perceptions of the nutrition education guide; studied changes in attitudes to diet and food after four short lessons using the guide; and proposed changes in wording or design to make the guide more widely acceptable. The focus groups were selected from three schools in the Central and Eastern districts of Moscow. The groups included 81 students (13 to 15 years of age), 81 parents and 28 schoolteachers. The test results showed that the guides were well understood and accepted in the test groups of students, parents and teachers. The 13- to 14-year-olds were the most appropriate group for the nutrition education programme and guide. Involving parents, as well as students, in discussions about food consumption seemed to be very effective. The Russian version of the FAO guide was considered suitable for nutrition education programmes among the Russian population. The guide could be made more effective if it were adapted to population subgroups, determined by age, educational level, etc. Further work should be done on regional and socio-cultural analysis of the applicability of these materials throughout the Russian Federation.
For further information: www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/ECONOMIC/ESN/fna24/fna24-e.htm
Portugal: In September 1997, The FAO program 'Get the Best from Your Food was adapted and launched by the Ministry for use in Basic Schools, ages 6-16. FAO materials were distributed to 400,000 pupils (33%) of the student population and to 26,000 teachers and health professionals. In October of 1998, the Congress on School and Feeding was organised. Information packages were prepared and sent out to schools, advertised in Teacher's magazines, health professional materials presented to teachers at conferences as well as information regularly placed in the programs newsletter (www.pas.pt) (15,000) subscribers as well as parent and health magazines (80,000) contacts. September 1997 to November 1998, the Health and Food Program evaluated the FAO materials and leaflet designed for children. Of the 1147 teachers and health and nutrition professionals answering the questionnaire, 83 percent found the materials to be good or very good and 99 percent found the FAO nutrition approach very interesting.
For further information: www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/ECONOMIC/ESN/fna24/Portugal.pdf
Get the Best From Your Food: Full Text, www.fao.org/docrep/x0242e/x0242e.htm
Contact: Food-Quality@FAO.org or Nutrition@FAO.org
Strategies: Curriculum development; awareness raising
Media: Internet; printed materials
A rich resource of information on agricultural related subjects available for Schools is EcoPort, at www.ecoport.org, which takes you to the home page of this powerful web site.
For classroom use, go directly to www.ecoport.org/EP.exe$PassCheckStart?ID=S92. Here you will find excellent examples of information that implement a template approach to organising, presenting and delivering information in the form of Information Fact Sheets. This sample set includes topics such as composting, insect identification, soil testing and how to build a mud brick bin.
When printed (using Internet Explorer and not Netscape), they fill a full size A4 page and make excellent student work sheets. Better yet, these can be modified to suit the cultural setting and saved in an individual's file. These are intended only as examples, but the basic template approach enables individual to develop their own diagrams and captions (worksheets) to suit their classroom or educational needs.
These fact sheets are presented in a format that separates the caption of the diagrams from the illustrations. Thus, the Fact Sheet slide show pages may be printed out and the captions translated into different languages before the Fact Sheets are photocopied (that's why they are in black and white only). This EcoPort resource on the Internet can be used as a global, digital library of resource of information ready for local use when a teacher or student requires information. A slide show may also be compiled, downloaded and saved on a floppy diskette. In this format, anybody with a computer could use an Internet browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, to view, and perhaps further modify, the slide show locally.
There are almost a million titles in EcoPort's References. Go to www.ecoport.org/ and click on Resources. A student or teacher doing research can create their own reference file that can be accessible to others. Information can be shared but also edited as desired.
This case study shows how EcoPort was used to help farmers in Tonga through primary school children. Squash were being sold to Japan from Tonga. Sales were going well, the economy was benefiting. Fresh squash was being supplied to a big market, willing to pay big money for fresh produce, but there was one problem. A virus was attacking farmers squash in Tonga showing up as little pimples on the squash. Extension people wanted to convey a system of evaluating the squash for export to the farmers. The problem was, how to deliver the information to the farmer quickly and effectively?
Using the Farmers Fact Sheet framework as in EcoPort, squash growing distribution patterns were diagrammed using dots to indicate varying levels of viral attack. Black-and-white sheets were printed and given to Primary Teachers who then explained to pupils what part of the map had to be coloured in by hand to convert the page into a colour map showing disease intensity. The children then took the message home and were able to help parents evaluate their squash crop and encourage their farming parent to share information about their farming situation relative to squash disease, so that the flow of information to map disease distribution could be improved. This raised the profile and the prestige of the child, an important person in the family and community.
Although the central idea of these Fact Sheets is to prevent the costly reinvention, reprinting and distribution of simple extension messages that have a limited life as printed booklets, using EcoPort's facilities has far reaching potential within the education system at all levels.
For further information:
Internet address www.ecoport.org
Farmers Fact Sheets, go directly to
EcoPort's References. Go to www.ecoport.org/ and click on Resources.
Strategies: Training of trainers; linking nutrition to food production
Bhutan: The objectives of the Royal Government of Bhutan's (RGOB) 7th Five Year Plan include food self-sufficiency, utilisation of natural resources, and the improvement of the income, living and nutritional standards of the rural population. Most of the population of Bhutan lives in remote rural areas and suffers from malnutrition: problems such as anaemia, possible vitamin A and iodine deficiency, particularly in women and children. Due to the community level approach, it was decided that kitchen gardens would be established at local schools, integrating farm enterprises in the schools through intensive animal husbandry, horticulture and small-scale processing. These enterprises would generate income for the school and allow the community to contribute. Health and nutrition goals would be pursued. Improvement of the economic status of the poor and better rural household food security could result.
In addition, demonstration kitchen gardens near farmhouses were established. Schoolteachers, agricultural extensionists, health workers, householders, students, support staff and volunteer farmers were trained in techniques of fruit and vegetable production, processing, preservation and consumption aimed at better nutrition. Techniques for water collection and use of organic manure for improving and maintaining soil structure and fertility were provided by extension staff in training workshops.
A well-implemented management system evolved from the very beginning between the teachers and parents in the programme. The kitchen garden programme was already being replicated in all blocks of the pilot districts by the end of the project. The community approach of this project helped to overcome some typical problems associated with school gardening, such as neglect of gardens in school holidays, and the demand on teachers' and pupils' time in maintenance of the garden. From this project it was seen it is best to resist the temptation for a garden to be too big, and that the garden size should be carefully scaled to the capacity of the participants.
The duration of the project was from July 1996 to December 1997. The Ministry for Agriculture was responsible for project execution. Government follow-up was ensured primarily under the Integrated Horticulture Development Programme, funded by UNDP, until 2002.
For further information:
Contact Margret Hodder, e-mail: Margret.Hodder@fao.org, FAO/ AGPP Headquarters
Strategies: linking nutrition to food production
Media: TV/video; radio/audio; printed materials; internet
TeleFood is FAO's annual campaign of broadcasts, concerts and other events dedicated to help reduce the number of hungry people in the world. TeleFood centres around the observance of World Food Day, marking the founding of FAO on October 1945. World Food Day and TeleFood 2001 theme is "A Millennium Free from Hunger".
Over 900 microprojects all over the world - in developing countries and countries in transition - are currently being financed by the TeleFood Fund. Here are some examples of TeleFood projects in school settings in the year 2000.
For further information:
On the TeleFood campaign
On TeleFood projects:
Strategies: Facilitation of community participation; linking nutrition to food production
Liberia: Liberia has just come out of a seven-year civil war, which has destroyed all the economic and social infrastructure, including virtually all schools. Today, two and a half years after the establishment of a democratically elected government, Liberia is striving for reconciliation and reconstruction of the nation. Many schools have reopened and many students have started going to school. However, most school buildings remain badly damaged. Basic facilities, including electricity and water supply, are missing. Educational equipment and materials, including text books and notebooks, are in very short supply. Most students depend on free lunch, which is provided by the international community through a school feeding programme, as an important supplement to their daily calorie intake.
Liberia is predominantly agrarian, with 75 percent of the population depending on agriculture as income source. The country is endowed with conditions which favour agriculture, with adequate land and water supply. Agriculture is one of the main priorities for economic development in Liberia. Most students, particularly in rural areas, are expected and encouraged to engage in agriculture after graduation from school.
In 1999, the Mainichi Shinbun Social Welfare Foundation of Japan, sponsored by The Mainichi Shinbun, one of the largest daily newspapers in Japan, donated some US$4,500 to FAO in Liberia for use for agricultural projects. In consultation with the relevant authorities, FAO has launched a School Farming Project, using this donation. Ten schools have been selected in and around Monrovia. The TeleFood project approved in August 2000 will expand the school farming, which has successfully been initiated with the Mainichi Shinbun contribution. The mechanism established for the Mainich Shinbun School Farming Project will be extended to the present project. The mechanism comprises the Project Advisory Board, composed of the senior representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Planning and Economic Affairs, and the FAO Representative.
The schools will develop relevant farming activities, including agricultural education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education. The project as a whole will be administered by the FAO Office, under the direct responsibility of the FAO Representative in Liberia. The project aims at starting school farming at fifteen schools, primarily in the greater Monrovia area and Bomi County. This geographical limitation is necessary, so as to allow close monitoring and supervision, with limited operational resources. After an assessment of the farm lands and proposals for the implementation of the applying schools and the eventual selection of the 15 beneficiary schools, the FAO Office will provide them with a set of farming inputs (hand tools, seeds, fertilisers and pesticides). The objectives of the project are:
Each school will earmark a certain quantity of produce for seed purposes for the following planting seasons. This can also be done by reserving part of the cash income for procuring the seeds (or animal stocks) for future seasons. Thus, from the outset, it will be kept in mind that the project is intended to be self-sustaining. The duration of the project is for ten months (August 2000 - May 2001), targeting the dry season, in terms of direct assistance. After the initial support, the project and its further development will depend on the schools.
The direct beneficiaries are the students (about 3,000) of fifteen schools, who will obtain supplementary foods, educational materials and basic farming skills. Through their participation in school farming, students will also participate in the national aspirations for self-reliance. The schools, as educational institutions, will benefit in terms of additional educational opportunities and additional income, resulting in an enhancement of their educational capacity. The project is owned, managed and implemented by the school, with the participation of the students, teachers and administration. The participatory approach will be pursued and emphasised. It is also desired to involve the community people around the schools, in terms of receiving their support (for example, allocation of communal land to the schools, protection of the farm from theft, etc.). Theft of inputs from the school premises and crops from the school farms is a high risk, unless adequate security and protective measures are provided by the schools.
For further information:
ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOL ORCHARD, Armenia. A TeleFood project in Armenia has provided fruit trees, vegetable seeds, irrigation materials, fertilizer and tools to School N80, an elementary school in Yerevan with 600 children. "We're faced with budget shortages," said Rita Arsenyan, director of the school. "Our teachers get paid US$10 a month. For them it is more of a hobby than a profession. We don't have the resources for food so either the students go home for lunch or they don't eat lunch. The idea of the garden is to provide school lunch food."
For further information:
Strategies: Training of trainers; curriculum development
The problem is one of out-migration to the United States of children after school completion. The Minister of Education chose the Candelaria region in Lempira, Honduras as an pilot project to be an example to the whole country. Five secondary rural schools were chosen to teach technical subjects, including Agriculture and Forestry with particular emphasis on soil conservation in water shed areas due to the hilly terrain.
This pilot experience, of duration from 1999-2002, will allow the Minister of Education to consider a change of curricula following lessons learned for the whole of rural areas in Honduras.
For further information:
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