School food global hub

School food in Suriname is provided by the government, private vendors and non-governmental organizations, or brought from home. As of 2023, the country is working on developing a nationally owned school meal programme, as well as drafting a school food policy that includes nutrition guidelines and standards. 

Food and nutrition education is integrated into the school curriculum through subjects like Biology, Nature Education and Orientation on Yourself and the World. Extracurricular activities such as school food garden projects also cover aspects of food and nutrition.

School Food

School meals

In Suriname, foods consumed by students in schools are currently supplied by school canteens, private vendors and non-governmental organizations, or brought from home. In May 2022, the Ministry of Education started a pilot project to provide fruit (generally bananas) to 42 vulnerable primary schools twice a week. Another pilot project, known as Gewoon Lager Onderwijs (“Just Primary Education”) Bread Project, began in 2023 in 40 primary schools from five districts (Commewijne, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca and Wanica), where the government provides about 4,000 loaves of bread, a spread (peanut butter and jelly) and a drink (fresh juice or milk) to students every day. 

As of 2023, and as part of the Resilient Caribbean Initiative, FAO and the Government of Mexico are supporting the Government of Suriname in developing a school meal programme. A school feeding policy, which integrates nutrition guidelines aligned with the recently-published Food-based Dietary Guidelines for Suriname (2022), is currently being drafted to ensure that students have access to safe and adequate meals. School kitchen facilities are being upgraded to enable the preparation of such meals. 

Guidance will also be developed on which foods can be sold in schools. The guidance will accompany the Bureau of Public Health and the Ministry of Health's Food safety regulations for food vendors, on kitchen infrastructure and conditions (lightning, storage, ventilation, waste management, etc.). 


School-Based Food and Nutrition Education

Food and nutrition education is integrated within the national curriculum in Suriname under the subjects of Orientation on Yourself and the World, Nature Education at primary school (which covers natural sciences and topics such as healthy food and food and hygiene) and Biology at primary and secondary school level, which also include food and hygiene, and food growing. 

Education on aspects of food and nutrition is also integrated into several extracurricular activities focused on sustainable agriculture in schools. These include the Green School initiative, which began in 2013 to promote environmental awareness among primary schoolchildren in Suriname. The initiative has also developed practical materials and lessons on biodiversity (including school gardens) and sustainability. The project is implemented nationally by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and locally by the non-governmental organization Suriname Waste Management, with funding from the Suriname Conservation Foundation and the State Oil Foundation for Community Development. 

Organic school gardens and aquaponics (a food production system that combines aquaculture with hydroponics) was established in various primary schools across the country from 2017 to 2020. The project was managed by Suriname Waste Management and funded by the Government of Japan. Lessons for students were developed on healthy food, maths and language in the school garden. Teachers actively participated in setting up project activities, receiving training on permaculture (gardening without pesticides and fertilizers) and aquaponic systems.  

More recently, a pilot school gardens project was launched in 2023 in seven primary schools and one education centre, with the aim of getting children interested in agriculture and promoting local and traditional crops. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries in conjunction with FAO, as part of the Resilient Caribbean Initiative (funded by the Government of Mexico). The launch of the school gardens is part of a wider government effort to improve national food and nutrition security. 

Main targets
  • Primary schools 
  • Secondary schools 
  • Parents, families and/or parent associations 
Main educators
  • Teachers 
  • Ministry/government staff 
  • NGO staff 
Integration within the school curriculum

as part of one subject:  

  • Orientation on Yourself and the World (grades 3-5) and Nature Education (grades 6-8); both subjects include topics on healthy food, and food and hygiene at every primary school grade level. 


  • Biology (a mandatory subject in primary school and an elective subject at secondary school) covers topics on food and hygiene, e.g. how to keep a kitchen clean, preparing a meal, growing own crops, nutritional value of food, etc. 

transversally in the school curriculum 

through extracurricular activities, e.g. school garden projects




There is not a separate curriculum for food and nutrition education in Suriname, although Nature Education covers several relevant topics: healthy food, food and hygiene, food groups, etc. The current general curriculum for all subjects was developed by the curriculum unit within the Ministry of Education in the early 2010s. Other actors such as the Ministry of Agriculture were involved in developing content for Nature Education and incorporating the Green School initiative materials into the secondary school curriculum.   


The Ministry of Education is the main entity responsible for implementing the curriculum. The Ministry of Agriculture and other partners such as FAO are also involved in implementing activities, such as school gardens in the pilot project. Teachers are the main front-line educators. 

The main food and nutrition topics addressed in the curriculum are: 

Grade 3 

Healthy Food (My Body; Market - Fresh and sustainable etc.) 

Grade 4 

Nature Education 

  • Nutrition (rules for 5 food groups) 

Grade 5 

Nature Education 

  • Food and Nutrition (What should we eat today?; Food and hygiene; What happens to our food?) 

Grades 6-7 

Nature Education 

  • Food groups (sources of energy, building blocks and protective materials in our food) 
  • Food pyramid 

Grade 8  

Nature Education 

  • Nutrition (What’s in our food?; Healthy Meals; Good food with little money; etc.) 

Monitoring and Evaluation

There is no monitoring and evaluation plan specific for food education in Suriname. The food and nutrition contents are assessed as part of the evaluations of each subject, mostly through examinations, in-school activities, homework, etc.  

The curriculum unit is developing learning objectives for all subjects, following guidelines from the Ministry of Education regarding meeting education priorities within the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Relevant Links


Secondary students at SO Welgedacht C prepare breakfast using new kitchen range

The project is part of the Mexico-CARICOM-FAO Initiative “Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean.

Participants from the Resilient School Feeding Programme Workshop,

FAO and the Government of Mexico support the Government of Suriname with advancing its school feeding programme as part of the Resilient Caribbean Initiative.