“A Participatory Action Research on School- and Community-based Food and Nutrition Program for Literacy, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development”

January 2016 – June 2017

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in the overall growth and development of school children, especially in enhancing their academic performance. Essentially, nutrition is a function of children’s dietary habits and the kind of food they eat. However, many families, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to nutritious food, which leads to malnutrition among school children.

The most recent update of the National Nutrition Survey showed that 29% of children 5-10 years of age in both rural and urban areas are underweight, while 30% are stunted. Wasting or thinness in the same age group was at a rate of 9%. High prevalence of underweight and stunting was found in the poorest quintiles with 42% and 48%, respectively.

According to the ‘World Declaration on Education for All’, poor health and nutrition are crucial underlying factors for low school enrolment, absenteeism, poor academic performance, and early school dropouts. In the Philippines, learning and academic performance of a significant proportion of school children are compromised due to ill health, hunger, and undernutrition. These problems typically arise due to lack of access to nutritious food (particularly vegetables) because of low household incomes that cannot cover the families’ basic needs.

On the instigation of the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd), SEARCA, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines Los BaƱos (UPLB), will implement the project “A Participatory Action Research on School and Community-based Food and Nutrition Program for Literacy, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development.” It is envisaged to be a precursor of a nationwide program that addresses community food and nutrition security, specifically food utilization component, through the establishment of school gardens while promoting among students and teachers an appreciation of gardening and agriculture, in general.

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SEARCA School and Home Gardens Project

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