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3. Food Safety

Food safety is about handling, storing and preparing food to prevent infection and help to make sure that our food keeps enough nutrients for us to have a healthy diet. Unsafe food and water means that it has been exposed to dirt and germs, or may even be rotten, which can cause infections or diseases such as diarrhoea, meningitis, etc.

These diseases can make people very sick or even be life threatening. When people are sick, they are weak and would have difficulty working or concentrating at school. Some of these infections also make it difficult for our bodies to absorb the nutrients they need to get healthy. Unsafe or stale foods also deteriorate and be of poor quality, which means they lose nutrients and so we do not get enough of what we need for a healthy diet. So unsafe food can also lead to poor nutrition.

This section has 2 activities to help Rural Youth Club members to learn about Food Safety and think of ways to promote Food and Water Safety messages in their communities.



Activity 3.1: Safe Food for Good Nutrition

Project skill:

To understand the importance of safe food and water for good nutrition and preventing diseases

Life skills:

Recognising self-worth
Working with others

Food Guide Poster
Food Safety Handouts


Make enough copies of the Food Safety Handout so that all group members may have one.


1. Point to the guideline on the Food Guide poster: "Consume clean and safe water and food" and explain to everyone that this activity is to help them to understand the importance of safe food and water for good nutrition.

Explain that "Healthy Food" doesn't just mean that which is good for a balanced diet, but that this also means foods which are in good condition and safe to eat.


2. Explain that, even though they may not think so, everyone in this meeting already has some knowledge about why it is so important that we should have clean and safe food and water. Point out that the knowledge they have has come from their family members, (parents, grandparents, other relatives) as well as what they have learned in school or from other educational materials.

3. Encourage a discussion in which your group members remember and share what they have learned by naming the important things they know about safe food and water.

4. Explain to your group members that clean and safe food are very important because the organisms which contaminate foods and water not only cause diseases such as diarrhoea, meningitis, etc., but they also destroy valuable nutrients in the food. Therefore when learning about nutrition, it is also very important to also learn about safe storage and handling of food.

5. Give copies of the Food Safety Handout to all your group members.

If it was not possible to make enough copies of the Food Safety Handout for everyone to have a copy, let everyone write the information in their note books at the end of the activity.

6. Work through the information on the Handout, point by point, with the group members.


7. Let the group have a general discussion on Food Safety. Try to encourage everyone's ideas by asking questions such as:


8. End this activity by letting your group member review what they have learnt by having a discussion. Guide the review by asking questions such as:

Handout: Food Safety

Clean and safe food are very important to prevent germs from getting into foods and water. Such germs not only cause diseases, but they also destroy valuable nutrients in the food.

Information for this Activity adapted from "Facts about HIV/AIDS" and "Caring for Someone with AIDS" © M. Futter

Activity 3.2: Youth in Action!

This activity will take 2 or more group meetings to complete.

Project skill:

Conducting a survey on food and water safety in the community and acting on the results

Life skills:

Acquiring knowledge
Working with others
Managing resources
Applying leadership skills
Taking community action
Conserving the environment

Paper and pencils for your group members to each write the interview questions.
Your Workpad poster for this activity


Make your Workpad poster by writing the words in big letters on a sheet of the paper that are shown on the right. Save this Workpad poster to use again when doing this activity with other youth groups.







Tell the youth club members that they will need to bring paper, pencils, etc.


1. Explain to your group members that in this activity everyone will be conducting a survey on food and water safety in the community and planning action on the results.


2. Start by leading a discussion to identify areas of concern about food or water safety in the community or village. Some examples could be:

3. Let everyone form small teams of about 4 members and discuss how they could survey the community and identify such areas of concern. Point out that when interviewing people at these areas:

4. Explain that this survey is to be outcomes based. That is, teams will be identifying:

5. Lead a discussion about how the teams will do their survey and what results they hope to get.

6. Discuss and decide on a date for the next meeting for the teams to present their surveys.


7. Begin this session by giving each team 10 minutes to present the results of their survey.

8. Put up your Workpad poster for this activity and explain that these are the 6 Magic Words for planning any course of action. Everyone should use these words, whether we are going to buy groceries, writing a letter to a friend or in this case, planning what can be done to solve food and water safety problems in the community. Explain that:


9. Let everyone discuss the data or information collected in their survey and think about what they could do in and around their communities to solve problems and promote Food Safety as part of their work with Nutrition.

Ask them to think about the 6 Magic Words in planning actions. For example, if they decide on a poster campaign:

10. If your group members want to have a Youth In Action Food Safety Campaign as the outcome of their survey and their recommendations, encourage them to do this as a following part of the activity.

11. Let them write down the 6 Magic Words to help them remember when planning their campaign.

Remember to tell your group members that when they use old food containers or other pieces of rubbish for making artwork, they should ALWAYS make sure that these items are properly cleaned before working with them.

This Activity has been adapted from the paper "Communication Essentials in Poster Development", M. Futter, pub. SADC-REEP, "Resource Materials Development" 2001

Community awareness is a very important part of changing attitudes and habits. This poster is an idea for what can be done by Youth Club members in their efforts for improving nutrition and Food Safety.

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