WFP Zambia Senior Programme Assistant Kenneth Chola and National Food and Nutrition Commission Nutritionist Joyce N'gandu give a nutrition talk to children at Cobet Community School in Lusaka as part of Walk the World 2011. Photo: WFP/Victoria Cavanagh
In the lead-up to this year's Walk the World event, representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP) in Zambia and the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) visited community schools in Lusaka to raise awareness about nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet among schoolchildren.
In the lead-up to Walk the World 2011 on May 28, representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP) in Zambia and the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) visited community schools in Lusaka to raise awareness about nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet among schoolchildren.
Kenneth Chola, Senior Programme Assistant for Education and Co-ordinator of the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Programme, says that WFP wants to provide not just school meals but also information about nutrition.
“Many children did not know about the three food groups but were very eager to learn and asked a variety of questions,” says Chola, who spent time with Cobet Community School’s Grade 7 students.
Chola and NFNC Nutritionist Joyce Ng’andu discussed the difference between protective foods, energy-giving foods and body-building foods, as well as the importance of good grooming habits.
“It's important that students understand the nutritional benefits of certain foods and we encouraged them to plant more in their home gardens,” said Ng’andu. “I also emphasized that they should eat more indigenous foods such as dark green leafy vegetables which are cheaper and more easily accessible.”
Cobet Community School has taken part in the school meals programme since 2003. School Principal Peter Mumba says that there have been significant improvements to the school since then, exemplified by the increased number of pupils from 275 in 2003 to 1, 300 in 2011.
“Those benefitting from WFP food must contribute to the school in the form of community service,” he says. “Each parent works here for one hour per week, and because of this we have been able to build proper structures with cement blocks and iron sheets rather than keeping the previous mud structures with thatched roofs,” Mumba said.
“The teaching standards have also improved, because the teachers are encouraged by the increased levels of concentration in the classroom,” he explained. “The parents have become more loyal to the school and are volunteering more time because they can see the results.”
Walk the World is a joint effort between WFP and its partners, TNT, Unilever and DSM. Since its inception in 2003, Walk the World has mobilized more than two million people across 24 time zones around the globe. In 2010, about 1,000 people participated in a walk and related sporting activities in Lusaka.