School Feeding Program:
School Feeding Program (SFP) for the poverty stricken areas is one of the major education interventions of MABFO. It is being implemented in partnership with Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and World Food Program (WFP) since 2010. This program is helping to ensure quality primary education and increase nutritional status of learners. Under this program, MABFO supports School Management Committees (SMCs) to play effective role in community mobilization for sending children to schools and ensure retention until the end of primary education cycle. The main input of the program includes food support to beneficiary students. Muslim Aid’s support is complementary to Government’s national education policy.
School feeding program has been helping Bangladesh’s education in different ways. It helps increase enrolment, improve attendance and reduce dropout rates, particularly of students of poor and ultra-poor households. It improves concentration span and learning capacity of students by alleviating short-term hunger and by contributing to the alleviation of micronutrient deficiency. The feeding program builds capacities of local communities through mobilization and creating awareness on the importance of education. It also supports women to ensure their active participation in community mobilization for primary education and for enhanced representation in school management committees (SMCs). It plays significant role in helping students and community people maintain healthy life through awareness building on systematic de-worming and information dissemination on primary health hygiene and sanitation. Under this program, teachers and students are motivated for quality education and using schoolyards for vegetable gardening to help improve nutrition status of the students.
School Yard Vegetable Gardening for Improving Nutritional Status of Students:
Muslim Aid implemented a vegetable gardening project named “Vegetable Gardening at School Yard” in 50 schools of Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas of Cox’s Bazar district. World Food Program (WFP) and the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education supported the initiative. The objective of the project is to ensure providing students nutritious and healthy meals to help them stay fit and focused at school. Head Master of Dailpara Govt. Primary School Md. Abdul Hakim said once we made a garden in our schoolyard, but cattle damaged all of our crops. At present, with the technical support of Muslim Aid we have made a garden on our school building roof. Now, not only the students are consuming the vegetables themselves but also they are learning a whole range of agriculture relevant skills. As we have been able to provide food support, children are concentrating on their lessons more, he added. Upazila Education Officer (TEO) of Ukhiya Shamim Bhuiyan also visited different gardens. During his visit, he expressed his happiness as the children being benefitted by nutritious food from schoolyard. Vegetables planted in the school gardens or rooftops are growing well, and students are eating leafy and fresh vegetables with their meals every day. At the same time, young students are learning some important lessons about cultivation and nutrition. Young children are getting inspired to start planting vegetables at home from the practice.