Training session participants listen carefully to one of the lessons on school garden management. WFP / Isatou Nasir Cham
WFP in The Gambia supports schools gardens through its school feeding programme. The gardens provide vegetables for school meals and are an opportunity for students to learn through doing.
BANJUL - In early October, WFP Gambia launched its second phase of training on school garden management, bringing together teachers, parents, cooks and students from nine schools.
Topics from the training included seed collection and storage, seedling production, pest control, composting and record-keeping.
The project, which is done alongside WFP Gambia’s school feeding programme, now involves 29 schools, up from 20 schools in 2010.
“The school feeding programme plays a key role in contributing to quality education and improving attendance in schools,” said Gibril Bah, the Principal Education Officer for the western region of Brikama, where the launch of the training was held.
He went on to express his appreciation to the European Union for their support of the school feeding programme.
The school garden project has significant nutritional gains for students: the gardens produce a variety of vegetables including beans, pigeon peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and eggplants, which are used in the school lunches.
In addition to the nutritional benefits, the activities in the garden complement the lessons children learn on natural science, nutrition and hygiene in the classroom.
“School gardens are a learning centre, where students learn through doing,” said WFP Gambia’s Head of Programmes Teresita Mosquera, adding that this approach to learning is a new experience for the children.
At the end of the training, the 36 participants, including both teachers and students involved in the gardens, were provided with garden tools and materials.
Upon their return, participants will share the lessons learned from the training with their respective schools and gardens.
The project is done in collaboration with the Ministries of Basic Secondary Education and Agriculture, the National Nutrition Agency and Peace Corps.