by Allison Cooper

The importance of nutritional education

Young learners receive education on nutrition and training to grow food

Education is key to sustainable nutrition
Dept of Education Wheel & Card

The Eastern Cape Department of Education: Nutrition, Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development is not only planning a nutrition programme for learners, but aims to provide them with the skills and training they need to grow their own food.

To get this message across to learners and teachers, the department has had a Z-CARD and food wheel produced, to educate its target audience about the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), which is geared to provide learners with nutritious meals, promote sustainable food production in schools, and to strengthen nutrition education among school communities.

“All three of the objectives listed above must be implemented to ensure the provision of meals is supported by a school vegetable garden and nutrition education,” says Linky Sixeko Ketile from the Eastern Cape Department of Education: Nutrition, Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development unit .

Grade R learners, learners in quintile 1-3 primary and secondary schools as well as targeted learners engaged in special schools will benefit from the programme.

“The aim of Nutrition Education is to promote healthy lifestyles and good nutrition among schools and their communities,” adds Ketile.

The Z-CARD contains information about the programme, from who is involved to who benefits, and the roles of all of the players involved. It also explains how the programme will work, from procurement to payment.

A time chart has been included to provide a monthly activity calendar that describes the programme’s time frames. It’s easy to follow and understand. There’s also an activity chart, represented by a flow diagram, which explains various elements of procedure from budgeting to procurement and reporting.

“We wanted to make the entire process easy to understand and implement, thus ensuring learners could develop their skills while receiving healthy, nutritious meals. The Z-CARDs have enabled us to do this in such a way that the learners will be able to keep them with them at all times and refer to them when needed,” explains Ketile.

The Food Wheel is also being distributed to primary and secondary schools that are involved in the NSNP, and provides food quantities for 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 learners with a different recipe for each day of the week – Monday to Friday. While one side of the wheel contains menu options for primary schools, the other has menu options for secondary schools. 

“The Food Wheel is easy to read and follow, making it a valuable education guide,” concludes Ketile.

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