This year we will be working with 9 schools in Kilimanjaro. 3 schools will be growing grain (maize)and the other 6 schools will be doing vegetable gardens.Through this project we are expecting childrean to be assured with at least one hot meal a day with nutrients in the whole year.
School farming and gardening programme so far has benefited 39 schools in Moshi rural and Simanjiro districts. This came after consultations with local communities demonstrated the need for a feeding programme in schools to act as an incentive for both parents and pupils to commit to regularly attending school, improve morale and academic performance. Rather than provide the food ourselves in a basic feeding programme, we wanted to empower local schools and communities to do this themselves, thereby ensuring the project’s sustainability, building the capacity and skills of all involved, for those who are practicing school gardening they can also sell some excess and use the money for other school needs and services. This programme also is improving farming practices and general health in the targeted areas.
The impact so far:
The project has improved school attendance, bringing the average across schools from 70% to 92%. The average percentage of underweight children in every school was 20% before we began this project. It is now an incredible 7%.
Since 2011 to date we have benefited 39 schools which means 17,099 children have been ensured with one hot meal with nutrient for a year.
We hold community meetings to motivate community members’ help with the farming, communities or schools provide land and we organise resources like seeds, fertilizer and technical person to teach them modern farming. The schools cultivate grain and vegitables schools and all the harvest is stored and ensure that all targeted school children are served one hot lunch every day.
Across Tanzania, school children are suppose to contribute food from home – beans and maize – to enable their school to provide lunch for its pupils. This is difficult for many parents afford even in a good year, but during times of food scarcity such as the last two years it is even practically impossible. Many families afford one or two meals a day.
Parents are unwilling to hand over their food to schools, preferring to save it for dinner when the whole family can benefit. For this reason many children will often go to school in the morning with an empty stomach and then not being given a school lunch due to the school’s lack of resources. Not only does this result in an increase in children dropping out of school or attending infrequently, it also significantly lowers the likelihood of children passing their final year exams which allow them to go on to secondary school and further education. Hungry children struggle to concentrate and perform less well than their peers. Lack of food and a nutritious diet can severely damage a child’s ability to read and write, as well as having a significant impact on their physical development.
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