The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) under the FASDEP component in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) recently concluded a four-day Training of Trainers TOT for cluster monitors and teachers on nutrition education for lower basic schools at the School of Enrolled Nurse (SEN) in Bansang, Upper Fulladu West District, CRR south.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, FASDEP’s nutrition expert at the FAO, Yankuba Sawo expressed his appreciation to the Ministry of Basic Education and NaNA for their collaboration in developing a curriculum and implementing nutrition education in lower basic schools. He said FAO attaches great importance to food security and nutrition, as this is an important strategic objective of the organisation.
According to him, FAO ensures that projects under its purview address the priority areas agreed with the government of The Gambia. He said the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP) is one of those projects and, as a technical assistance project to the main FASDEP investment, it is providing capacity building for nutrition education.
“The National Nutrition Agency in collaboration with the MoBSE jointly developed the teaching and learning materials for nutrition education in lower basic schools. The aim of the materials is to facilitate the teaching and learning of nutrition education in schools,” he stated, adding that the project covers three administrative regions: West Coast (WCR), Lower River (LRR), and Central River (South and North).
Mr Sawo further said nutrition education is any combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environment support designed to facilitate the voluntary adoption of food choices and other food and nutrition related behaviour conducive to people’s health and wellbeing.
“Children are the current and future consumers and need relevant education to form lifelong healthy eating habits. Eating habits are learned early, and schools can play an important role in promoting healthy and sustainable dietary patterns by engaging parents, teachers, food service and food vendors.”
He added that nutrition education in schools are aimed at addressing problems of food insecurity and malnutrition, by ensuring that school children develop into healthy, well-educated and productive citizens who could secure their future livelihoods; hence could contribute better to the country’s overall economic and social development.
“I believe this gives you the opportunity to be quite familiar with the content and materials, and how to effectively deliver the topics in class for children to learn. I have no doubt that the four days of training have given you basic knowledge in nutrition.”
The senior cluster monitor of Janjangbureh, Malick Jammeh, said the pedagogical skills demonstrated during the training would help them to deliver the nutrition education effectively. He pointed out that the materials are intended to be used for teaching of nutrition education in lower basic schools. “It will help to provide knowledge, awareness and skills that will enable the learners, their peers and their families to take charge of their own health and nutrition,” he said.
He urged the participants to share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues who have not attended the training, so that the nutrition knowledge will filter down to the children in their various schools.
Yerro Bah, a beneficiary cluster monitor, commended the organisers of the training for such an important forum. He said the training would reflect their mind on the school feeding programme, which is directly looking at the activity of the community with regard to participation, support of the feeding programme in the form of participation in the gardens, school farms, etc.
He said the training course was in line with the policy objectives, and urged the organizers to continue organizing this type of capacity building for teachers.
Edrisa Ceesay, teacher at Sinchu Madado Lower Basic School, lauded the organizers for such a training course for teachers, adding that the importance attached to this training activity could not be over-emphasised as the training course had yielded a lot of positive impact to their knowledge.
Mariama Jawla, a teacher from Bansang lower Basic school and a beneficiary of the training course, said she was very much impressed about the training course in the sense that it has added more to her knowledge.
by Lamin SM Jawo