World Food Programme Cooking Demonstrations
Photos and Story by Maggie Andresen
“They told us that a complete meal is made up of four colors: green for protecting against diseases, white for strength, brown for bodybuilding, and orange for improved vision,” said Nyirabukeyengenda Marguerithe, a 42-year-old teacher at Rutsiro Primary School. “We liked that lesson a lot.”
Marguerithe was chosen to represent her school at several GHI trainings covering essential agriculture and nutrition concepts. In April 2018, Marguerithe attending a garden training on pest and disease management and post-harvest garden care. She said after the training, “[Learning to] prepare a garden will not end here. We will also teach children and they will tell their parents about it so they can apply it too...The innovation I see is that the trainings included teachers, who can meet a lot of people, including the parents of our students. Therefore, the message will reach a big audience.” She anticipated that the teachers GHI trained will be able to spread their new knowledge throughout the community by conducting trainings at their schools.
Marguerithe noted that parents had already been involved in maintaining the school garden by contributing materials for composting and donating their time to help cultivate the school garden. “We will tell the ones who attend to tell their neighbors, so even those who will not make it will learn from the ones we will train.”
Only three months later, Marguerithe herself was spearheading the effort to train parents and students in gardening and nutrition techniques at the school. She led a training in July 2018 for fifty-four parents and students from Rutsiro Primary School. Using materials and core concepts taught by GHI, including the Four Color Wheel and tips on how to choose nutritious foods while shopping on a limited budget, Marguerithe demonstrated nutrition concepts to these parents and students. She also led parents and students in GHI’s One Pot, One Hour cooking demonstration, which shows families how cooking a nutritious meal in a simple and affordable way. During this lesson, she underscored how having a garden at home could help families more easily access the vegetables used to prepare this healthy meal.
“We do have stunting problem in this region, so going through the trainings that I got from Gardens for Health made me feel very confident and excited,” said Marguerithe as the pots behind her boiled with fresh vegetables from her school’s garden.“I feel like this training will go on to reach many people in this community because many people were very excited to attend these trainings and learned a lot from it, so I feel it could reach to many people who are not able to get it.”
Similar trainings engaging parents and students are happening in all twenty one HGSF schools in Rutsiro District, spreading nutrition messages far and wide throughout the District. Other HGSF districts will be hosting similar events in the upcoming months.