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School gardening initiative improves students nutrition

Posted on 30th Apr | 2021

TAHA has introduced school gardening programme in Bunda 'A' Primary School, Mara region, where pupils are taught best farming skills to enhance yields and provide them with improved nutritious meals. Through the initiative supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), TAHA established school garden fully equipped with a drip irrigation system, and supervised to practice best farming techniques. Commenting on the scheme during one of the harvesting exercises conducted recently, TAHA Agronomist for Simiyu and Mara regions, Mr Ellard Tarimo said the programme further intends to build the capacity of the pupils with relevant agricultural practices and nutrition skills. "School garden is a powerful platform to use to enhance message delivery and shape children's mindset for a healthy diet,” pointed out Mr Tarimo. He further said the project has been a catalyst in promoting good nutrition in schools and at home, where the pupils have begun to be motivated to establish home gardens. Elaborating, the Agronomist said the program was made possible with funds from UNDP, adding: “During the harvesting exercise, the pupils also received training on how to harvest vegetables and prepare them in such a way that they retain their nutrients.” On her part, TAHA Nutrition Coordinator, Ms Salome Stephen, said the program finally helps the public to establish links between vegetable cultivation and nutrition provision, as they focus on good food to build robust health. "Knowledge should not only end up in the field, but it is also important to create awareness about the use of the products, we produce to enhance good nutrition in the community," Ms Salome said. Commenting, the School Headmistress Ms, Igesa Ngeya, expressed gratitude to TAHA and UNDP for introducing such initiative that enables the pupils to develop the habit of engaging in social activities for own and families’ benefits. "We pledge to maintain continuous partnership so that the pupils achieve a lot in the project’s goals and finally strengthen the issue of nutrition in schools,” she pointed out. The project has so far facilitated creation of school gardens in some six Secondary and Primary Schools in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mara, and Simiyu regions. In the school garden’s initiative, the students receive necessary good agricultural practices (GAPs) training, especially on how to grow leafy vegetables with high nutritious values as well as steaming process that retains nourishment, healthy for their diets.

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