Green classes for innovative, fun, educational and nutritional production
Article written byr Dossa Codjo, Horticultural specialist, FAO SFC Gabon and Aissa Mamadoultaibou, Nutrition Officer for Central Africa FAO SFC Promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems in schools to effectively combat hunger and malnutrition Promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems in schools helps ensure…
Promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems in schools to effectively combat hunger and malnutrition
Promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems in schools helps ensure food self-sufficiency and combat hunger and malnutrition. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a strong believer in this and is therefore promoting education systems that are responsive to the needs of rural communities and seeking to facilitate access at the school level. It is providing support to several Central African countries to create school gardens or “green classes” using different innovative techniques.
The project, entitled “Green classes for innovative, fun, educational and nutritional production”, aims to improve food, nutrition and health, thus helping to enhance the educational level of children and their families in both rural and urban areas. Implemented in Cameroon, Congo and Gabon, the project has been established in both primary and secondary schools. Teachers, agricultural workers, health workers and parents have been trained in nutrition-sensitive agriculture using innovative techniques, including the use of plastic bottles, old tyres, bins and bags. In all, more than 300 people have been trained in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems (combining micro-garden production techniques with nutrition) and these people will, in turn, be able to train others.
A wide range of vegetables has been produced through these “green classes”. During the 2019-2020 academic year, more than 3.5 tonnes of vegetables were produced by schools in Gabon and Cameroon. By teaching nutrition, nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems, learners and communities will be better able to practise appropriate nutrition. This will make them more productive thus giving them an opportunity to gradually break the cycle of poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
Since receiving her training, Lauraine Manfoumbi has undertaken to set up a fruit and vegetable garden with her students where she will be able to teach them nutrition-sensitive agriculture: “This agricultural knowledge means we are growing good produce; the training on nutrition-sensitive agriculture has given me great motivation and allowed me to produce fine fruit and vegetables. It is no longer simply agricultural production but production that is closely linked to nutrition in order address the many nutritional challenges in my country. Growing produce with this knowledge helps us overcome not only malnutrition but also poverty. We don’t need a large plot or major resources to have fresh fruit and vegetables for our families. What’s more, there’s always a surplus that can be sold to others to bring in an income for the family.”