Marleen Spieker via web
On 30 April 2018, ZOA Liberia launched its Home Grown School Meals Program at Dartu Ta Public School in Margibi County. The program is intended to improve the nutritional status of children, reduce hunger for children in school, help children to participate and concentrate in class, increase enrollment and attendance, reduce drop-out, mobilize the community to support education, provide a platform for hygiene and sanitation, increase the income of local farmers, provide a market for local agro-enterprises and to create jobs and boost the local economy. In short, home grown school meals programs are a win-win for children, parents, farmers, businesses, and teachers.
The Director of the Ministry of Education's School Feeding Unit formally launched the project, with a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture. We were joined by our donors Vreugdenhil and Hoogwegt, teachers from surrounding schools, our partner agro-enterprises, Bravo Sisters and Destiny Women, and many international partners interested in this initiative. The children enjoyed Gariocio (Gari with cowpeas, local palm oil, onions, pepper and iodized salt, and Milky Gari fortified with protein and vitamins and minerals. Speeches given by the Traditional Authorities, MOE, MOA, donors, teachers, farmers, community members and students were in concordance that this valuable initiative will have multiple benefits for children, teachers, local businesses and parents. Community members have built beautiful kitchens, are planting school gardens and trees for firewood and are organised themselves to form a Food Management Committee. ZOA has built innovative smoke free stoves which will ensure that the health of volunteer cooks will not be damaged by smoke inhalation. A comprehensive program of training in nutrition, hygiene, health and safety, stock management, inclusion for disabled children, gender equity and sustainability is being delivered to the Parent Teacher Associations in each school. Through this project, ZOA aims to demonstrate the home grown approach, that is, buying food from local farmers instead of importing can work and is a win-win for all involved.
For more information, read the following article: http://www.bushchicken.com/home-grown-school-meals-in-liberia-a-win-win-for-all/