Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2022. 7:04 pm CST.
Photo Courtesy: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Recently, 32 cooks, teachers, and principals from different parts of Belize participated in a hands-on training session under the Resilient School Feeding Program sub-project in collaboration with the National Healthy Start School Feeding program of the Government of Belize.
The 32 participants hailed from the Biscayne, Santa Martha, Chan Chen, San Joaquin, Lucky Strike, Guinea Grass, and St. Peter’s Anglican Primary Schools.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE), the program is one of three sub-projects of the “Cooperation for adaptation and resilience to climate change in the Caribbean,” that is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (FAO) and funded by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (Amexcid), in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretariat.
“The training focused on theoretical and practical skills training covering topics such as healthy menus and food safety,” said FAO. Though this sustainable school feeding model follows the FAO-Brazil Technical Cooperation and other FAO frameworks, it includes Belize’s home-grown School Feeding Framework, with Belize’s Ministries of Education and Agriculture taking the lead.
“Ensuring the nutrition of students and improving the school menus and food safety for students are pivotal in helping them to stay focused, energized, and ready to learn,” said FAO.
FAO representative in Belize, Dr Crispim Moreira, said the project offers an opportunity to build the schools’ capacity to deliver healthier meal choices for their students, using local produce whilst also ensuring proper food safety practices.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Resilient School Feeding program has been having online training activities since March. Senior Public Health Inspector Ms. Sanchez-Marin and nutritionist Doris Sutherland already gave the participants a refresher course in food safety. They also reviewed the basics in child nutrition plus made an introduction to healthy school feeding recipes.
Beyond teaching both staff and students about eating healthy for proper nutrition, the Resilient School Feeding Program also seeks to improve the kitchen facilities in selected primary schools in Belize.
FAO said the project also has the objective of helping with school gardens and increasing the capacity of small farmers and their organizations to participate in the Government’s National Healthy Start Feeding Program, by linking small producers to schools in their community.
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