Friday, April 17, 2009

Project DISC and Slow Food Mukono organize the first Fruit and Juice party for school children

By Mukiibi Edward, project coordinator

On April 10th 2009, 164 children and 17 teachers were served with fruits gathered from local gardens in form of an Easter Fruit and Juice party for all the children Involved in the production of Clean, Safe and fair food. This Memorable Nutritional event took place at Jesus Alive Education Center our beautiful Hosts and one of the pioneer schools in the project. This one day taste education workshop was organised by the project DISC coordinator Mr. Edward Mukiibi who also opened the workshop with a fruit and Juice nutritional talk to the children and teachers. The participants were school children and teachers from the 15 coverage schools including 10 nursery and primary schools, and five (5) secondary schools from 2 sub counties of Mukono District, Ntenjeru sub county National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) coordinator and a member of Uganda Action for Nutrition (UGAN) Mr. Christopher Wali Magala also attended and other Organizers and Zone leaders like Irene Nakijoba also the Area youth councillor to the Sub county council, Noel, Abdul, Roger who also works as the project assistant and Betty the students representative on the Convivium committee.

“The major aim of this workshop is to improve on our Children’s knowledge of Nutritional value and tastes of different fruits in the locality and to give an overview of sustainable agricultural production and development in Ugandan schools” Edward said in his Briefing remarks.. In his closing remarks, Mr. Wali Christopher thanked the team which sat down and came up with such an Innovation to boost Agriculture, food production and Nutrition in schools which has been lacking in most of the schools curricular and reminded the schools, teachers, parents to actively participate in project DISC and Slow food Mukono Convivium activities and become active members of the Convivium. He added that this was just the beginning of the strong cooperation between Ntenjeru Sub county NAADS programme and Project DISC.

Students from Saint Balikuddembe Senior School, Kisoga say “This party and workshop especially the practical part on tasting and actual eating and drinking expanded our knowledge on fruits and juice preparation, preservation and Nutritional value of most locally available fruits and their management options” Most of the participants previously had only the class room knowledge of these Nutritional parameters and had just heard of the some wild fruits their grand parents used to taste but had never actually tasted them any where until the project DISC Easter fruit and Juice party came to pass. “I think project DISC is one of the many ways through which the Slow food Mukono Convivium empowers school children and teachers to manage their own Gardens and produce food to supplement their school Lunches and breakfast. So as we move towards commercial agriculture for development, young people like you and me should learn how to cultivate and get such beautiful fruits while taking a good care of our mother earth. I thank slow food because it has empowered us to fight Domestic Violence against our mother Earth through such projects” said Irene Nakijoba, the chief organizer and Area youth Councillor in her conclusive words.
At the end of the party the participants realised the relevance of food tasting and each group voluntarily shouted Cheeeeers!!! An innovative move from Buiga sunrise pre-school children guided by Noel their teacher. The children appealed to other schools to join the project and their parents to join the Convivium. Special thanks to our Dear School Head teachers, Children, Parents and teachers who made this possible, the Organizing committee, our Dear hosts (Jesus Alive Education Center Banda) Rorick Videos and Designs Uganda for the photo coverage and Ntenjeru Sub county NAADS programme.

Background to project DISC

The participation of students in food production does not only enhance their taste behaviours and nutrition status, but can possibly lead to social transformation. Social conditions are complex and therefore positive attitude towards cultivation should be built within children that will in turn help to reverse the existing food shortages. The fact is that Project DISC aims at engaging School Children and the local youth communities in real life production of Clean, Safe and Fair food through working with schools and communities.