The capacity of three of this country’s schools to provide meals for their children has been enhanced thanks to the receipt of a quantity of equipment handed over to the schools last Monday, October 22nd 2018.
The Buccament, Diamond and Brighton Government Schools, were all recipients of the equipment, under the sustainable schools project, as part of the zero hunger challenge initiative.
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Saboto Caesar, in his remarks, expressed elation at such a significant undertaking. He pointed out that the handing over ceremony is as a result of years of hard work, dedication and perseverance. The Agriculture Minister said, “whilst the genesis of the school feeding program has many years to it, we will all agree that since 2014, when this country took on that stride to zero hunger, that we have seen the school feeding program grow by leaps and bounds.” The Minister encouraged staff to take care of the equipment and appliances provided.
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Correspondent, Dr. Coleen Phillips, in her remarks, noted that the sustainable school feeding program will have a positive impact; such as the lowering of cost in child maintenance and increasing their propensity to lead healthier, productive lives. Highlighting this year’s FAO - World Food Day theme: “Our actions are our future,” Ms. Phillips noted that this is fundamental in determining what future the society will have. The FAO Correspondent further encouraged the children to eat the meals provided or share with a friend in need.
Senior Education Officer (SEO), Mrs. Jocelyn Blake-Browne said, “the Ministry of Education is grateful for the help received from the Brazilian Government, FAO, and the Technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture.” Mrs. Blake-Browne noted that the Ministry of Education is "concerned about the holistic development of all students;” noting that “being fed properly,” is high on the Ministry’s mandate. The SEO said that by eating these meals, children will be promoting local farming.
Chairperson of the committee of the Sustainable School Feeding Project, Mrs. Currel Thompson-Fergus, took the opportunity to recognize the members of the implementation committee. Mrs. Thompson-Fergus stressed that the aim of this programme is to strengthen the school feeding programme in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and revealed that it is one of four Eastern Caribbean countries piloting the project. The Chairperson also emphasised that this country is “way ahead.”
Principal of the Buccament Government School, Ms. Carmie Williams, thanked the Zero Hunger initiative for its efforts. Ms. Williams noted that the new meal plans are more nutritious. The Principal also disclosed that the next phase of this project will include a school garden, which will not just be used to feed the children, but as part of an integrated educational approach for the children.
The project commenced in 2016 with an assessment of 396 students, to acquire the exact nutritional needs of these students within the selected schools. This process was initiated at a cost of $3000.
At a cost of $45,000.00, the equipment and appliances include: new stoves, refrigerators and vital kitchen utensils, geared at aiding food preparation. The menu for each school is revised and recipes are standardised.
The items handed over came through the combined efforts of the Government and people of Brazil, the FAO, the United Nations (UN), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in conjunction with the Rural Transformation Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour.
The ceremony was held on Monday, 22nd October, 2018 at the Buccament Government School.