School Nutrition Clubs: Improving community food security

By Colleen Walton

School nutrition clubs engage a small group of senior primary students to learn, develop and practice skills in good food and nutrition.

In a five-session program, James and Brian meet students after school and involve them in planning and growing vegetables in a school-based kitchen gardening. Students are coached in preparing a range of foods using locally grown ingredients and how to make ‘typical’ foods more nutritious or ‘super’! Students are provided information on the importance of a healthy diet and good hygiene for good health at all ages.  

To celebrate, students create a short skit and invite their parents to a ‘wrap up’ session where they enact their skit that relays key messages. 

Teachers and the school cook are supportive of these efforts and report that students and their parents enjoy the learning and the snacks of 'super' githeri and orange sweet potato enriched 'super' chapati.

Hands on learning and skill-building for students helps to create longer term food security and build more resilient communities.

In these challenging times of drought and climate change, James and Brian report that many students rely on schools for the bulk of their daily food. The morning uji (maize-based porridge) at school is now more important than ever for children's learning and health.  One way to make uji ‘super’ is by adding milk as the uji is cooked.  The benefit to the students of this milk is extraordinary – excellent quality protein, vitamins (A and B12 in particular) and calcium.  

We hope that more schools are able to provide ‘super uji’ for their students and are seeking donations for this critical initiative as part of the annual Holiday Campaign.

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