Jun 10, 2015, 11:54 AM
The TOT described as “very interactive and informative” was jointly organized and funded by FAO under the FASDEP project component in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP).
The TOT is part of the school nutrition education programme.
The training activity was meant to train teachers that would go and teach others on educational nutrition in schools, to achieve a better quality of balance diet.
In his closing remarks, Yankuba Sawo, a national nutrition expert, said food and nutrition security is one of the themes of FAO and WFP, and both agencies advocate for a hunger-free world.
He said people all over the world are entitled to access and afford food of highly nutritious and diverse diet, at all times.
“To this end, one of FAO’s missions is to provide resources and technical support to improve agriculture for food and nutrition security, as well as increase farmer income,” said Mr Sawo.
Mr Sawo also indicated that WFP plays a critical role in providing food for the vulnerable populations.
According to Mr Sawo, both FAO and WFP appreciate the partnership and cooperation they enjoy from the Gambia government through its relevant ministries, departments and partner NGOs.
He said the two agencies acknowledged that for any meaningful development to take place, all players in development need to work together.
According to Mr Sawo, to successfully achieve the noble goal of children adopting good nutrition behavior, the role of teachers could not be overemphasized.
Teachers are agents of change, he said, adding that nutrition is cross-cutting as it involves food, healthcare, sanitation and hygiene.
All these have been covered during this five-day training session, he said, adding that when teachers are sensitized and trained on these, they would better impart the knowledge to the children.
He also added that a step-down training would be subsequently organized for 120 teachers in the project regions of WCR, LRR and CRR (40 teachers in each region) for Grades 2, 4 and 6 teachers.
“We solicit the support and cooperation of all teachers, as well as the cluster monitors in delivering the nutrition education in school,” Mr Sawo stated.
Also speaking was Ousman Bah, regional director for Region 5, who said the importance attached to the training course could not be overemphasis, as nutrition education is key to life.
He said utilizing these materials with pupils and teachers to better understand the quality of food was very important.
He spoke at length on the importance of the training workshop, and reminded the teachers that they were carefully selected from their various schools to represent them.
Therefore, he added, since the training course could not cover everybody, then those that are lucky to be selected should endeavour to utilize the knowledge gained and should filter the information to the grassroots level.
He said this awareness about nutrition education need to be filtered in all schools in The Gambia, as this is a life-line thing.
“We have been faced with a lot of problems ranging from diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems, just to name a few, as a result of the poor diet or food,” he said.
Therefore, he went on, FAO in collaboration with WFP coming up with this type of training on nutritional education is very important, and worthy of commendation for this initiative.
He said the training activity was all geared towards how to protect and manage our food.
He advised the teachers to be collaborating with the community in sensitizing the children on nutritional education, both in schools and at home.
He said both players have a very important role to play in the development of the children, and urged teachers to share the knowledge with other colleagues and parents to strengthen the nutritional education in school.
He thanked FAO and WFP for the initiative, and urged them to extend the training activity to other regions of the country.
He assured FAO and partner that the training of teachers would be put into practice in region 5, and would go a long way in addressing the food hygiene, sanitation and food security needs.
Lamin Juwara from Jarreng cluster six, who doubles as the principal of Niamina Upper and Senior Secondary School, said nutrition education is important in the school system.
He said the training course had provided the participants directives that would greatly help to make food security and nutrition security possible.
Fatou B. Sarr from Panchang LBS cluster ten expressed similar sentiments, and rejoiced with participants about the five-day training opportunity on nutrition education in schools.
Oumie A. Jallow, from Niani Senior Secondary School, said she was impressed by the interaction of the participants and the lessons provided to them by the facilitator, on nutrition education in schools.
Ebrima Sallah, from Sami Karantaba Upper and Senior Secondary School, said the training workshop was timely as it came at the right time and was very informative, and they had learned a lot and it has changed their lifestyle.