Where vegetables take priority!

vegetables Madagascar market

The Madagascan Help for Sustainable Development Association has organized workshops with the aim of raising awareness amongst 512 students aged 6 to 14 at a public school in Vinaninkarena on the importance of having vegetables in their diet.

After surveying the vegetables available on the local market, those identified will be used to prepare balanced meals alongside with rice, and occasionally meat, for meals in the cafeteria. Recipes designed with the children will take into account the eating habits of the Malagasy people.

The students’ parents will also volunteer as part of the project, they’ll shop at the market, prepare and distribute the meals to their children in the cafeteria.

In total, after 4 months of running this project, 72 mealtimes were organized this way in the cafeteria, which translates into 5,666 meals for the children.

The project also includes a teaching element, centered around learning all about nutrition, getting to know vegetables, lessons on how to prepare balanced meals using vegetables as the main ingredient, as well as exercises on understanding food and vegetables more generally.
Content for the lessons has been designed and developed by a nutritionist, and was then approved and passed to teachers.

Teaching support for carrying out the program consists of educational posters, color-coded menus with pictures, as well as educational but entertaining slides that are projected onto screens. As well as how to prepare a balanced menu, the children have learned to incorporate the 4 colors that represent foods which have an important role in their diet. Each child is then asked to choose a recipe and comment on the role that each component has on the body. Exercises on understanding vegetables have been given to the children so as to assess their understanding of the lessons given.

Thanks to this school cafeteria project, in April 2017 the Help for Sustainable Development Association received a certificate of recognition from Madagascar’s Department for Education. This certificate demonstrates the level of encouragement from the authorities when it comes to taking action to improve children’s education in Madagascar.

The children’s attendance rates at school have considerably increased when these schemes take place in the cafeteria. The rate of absenteeism is practically non-existent, the children are now more motivated to go to school and work hard!

This project was supported by the Louis Bonduelle Foundation during its summer 2016 call for proposals