Ministry of Education Piloting Breakfast Programme
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
–Ministry is looking to establish intersectoral committee to guide all school feeding activities
–Implementation of school gardens on the agenda
(Georgetown, May 19, 2016) The hunger experienced by a child due to an inadequate breakfast and/or because he or she has a long and arduous journey to school, is a major contributor to poor academic achievement. The Ministry of Education now wishes to expand and improve its school feeding programme to include a nutritionally balanced breakfast so that the impact of the crucial morning learning hours is not diminished.
This pilot study is intended to examine the feasibility of implementing such a breakfast programme in schools in the coastal regions that have no cooking facilities. It will provide the essential information on cost, nutritional adequacy and community engagement to guide decisions on the design and budgetary implications of a full national school feeding programme (SFP), to be implemented in phases.
The key objectives of the study are:
- to examine the feasibility of providing a nutritious breakfast consisting of a sandwich and a flavoured milk-based drink to children in nursery schools and Grades 1 and 2 of primary schools in three coastal communities, ensuring the contribution of the meals provided to healthy eating habits with a sustainable approach based on the use of locally produced foods;
- To assess the acceptability of the various breakfasts offered, and provide basic nutrition education to enhance the acceptability of healthy local food, taking into consideration cultural patterns of consumption;
- To determine the cost per child of the programme, and the increase of the cost if utilizing local and healthy food;
- To determine the nutritional value of the school breakfast options (and compare with home breakfasts);
- To assess the extent of the communities’ engagement and their willingness to help and contribute facilities, time, cash or food commodities, enhancing social participation (families, PTA, and the entire community;
- To contribute to nutrition education of school communities for ensuring a commitment on the programme for sustainability.
- To provide the basis for the development of a detailed plan for a sustainable school feeding programme, providing young children in coastal schools with a nutritious and culturally acceptable breakfast.
- Promote and facilitate linkages with local production with special consideration to small farmers.
Three study sites have been selected in Region 4: Buxton, Friendship, and Enmore, all on the East Coast, a little less than8 km apart. These sites have been selected to ensure that cultural acceptability is assessed within the two main coastal ethnic groups; These communities have considerable experience of community efforts; and, all communities have women with food handling certificates; training would thus be needed only in basic nutrition and book-keeping.
The following table gives information on the schools and class sizes to be included in this pilot study:
|COMMUNITY||SCHOOL(*)||No. OF CHILDREN|
|Company Road Nursery||73|
|Company Road Primary||63|
|Friendship||New Friendship Nursery||153|
|Enmore||Ghandi Memorial Nursery||95|
|Blossom Scheme Nursery||72|
|Enmore Newtown Nursery||86|
Guyana’s school feeding programme currently provides a snack of fortified biscuits and juice to all children in nursery schools and in Grades 1 and 2 of primary schools. Additionally, in hinterland primary schools, children are offered a hot lunch, prepared by trained community cooks and based, to the extent possible, on foods produced by the community.
In addition, as with the on-going hinterland community-based lunch programme, the intention is to engage local communities and local farmers so that the SFP contributes to poverty reduction, national development and national food and nutrition security. Following the presentation of the findings of this pilot study at a stakeholder meeting, Phase II will include the establishment of an intersectoral committee to guide all school feeding activities, engaging key relevant ministries. Further phases will include the testing of school gardens and the establishment of a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system.
The breakfast pilot programme started April 3, 2016 and provides breakfast to pupils between 8:00 hours to 8:30 hours daily.