The United Nations have presented relevant data of the nutrition status of the population worldwide. There are 800 million undernourished people and more than 2 billion people suffering from micronutrient deficiencies. Even more surprisingly is the data on chronic malnutrition in children: approximately 159 million of children under the age of 5 years old. By contrast, 1.9 billion of people are overweight and 600 million are obese, and the prevalence of obesity or overweight is increasing in almost all countries.
Recently, the Decade of Action on Nutrition was launched, in order for effective social policies to be adopted over the next ten years (2016/2025), and efforts will be intensified to eradicate hunger and eliminate the various malnutrition problems throughout the world. The initiative will be an opportunity for the different actors to work together to respond to these challenges. United Nations agencies, the Member States, the civil society and the private sector are expected to participate in this collective effort.
This important framework of action places nutrition at the heart of sustainable development and recognizes that improving food security and nutrition is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal #2 and, indirectly, other goals.
In the regional action, the Member-States of Latin America and the Caribbean created a Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication 2025, which is presented as a commitment to establish guidelines for the different policies of food security and nutrition, which are integrated with the needs of the region and that incorporate priority elements for social development.
In this context, important movements on the subject of School Feeding Programmes have been observed on all continents. This is because School Feeding as a Programme is an instrument of social protection intervention and implementation of the Human Right to Adequate Food, recommended as one of the key components to sustainable development in the long term.
It is known that the School Feeding Programme (SFP) is one of the factors in the protection and prevention of risks related to education and nutrition and food security, with the goal of promoting: (1) learning and school performance; (2) healthy food habits; (3) access to essential food and nutrition for the human development; (4) local development, especially in purchasing food produced by local farmers and their institutions and, (5) a reduction in food insecurity in situations of financial instability and environmental policy.
Brazil is a success case in this topic, in which the National School Feeding Programme was implemented by the National Fund for Education Development (FNDE), and has expanded its goals to cover everything from the food supply to food and nutrition education, with defined nutrition regulations and procurements of at least 30% of products originating from Family Farming and social control carried out by more than five thousand School Feeding Councils (SFCs).
The programme has serviced more than 42 million students and has existed for more than 60 years. In addition, one of the main lessons learned is that it has been organized from an internal articulation of the Government as part of a social policy. In an inter-sectoral way, it elaborated legal mechanisms for the development of all the actions foreseen in the School Feeding Programme law, approved in 2009
Based on this experience, Brazil, through FNDE/MEC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, establishes cooperation with FAO for the project development of “Strengthening of School Feeding Programmes in the Framework of the Hunger Free Latin America and the Caribbean 2025 Initiative” – GCP/RLA/180/BRA, which have acted in different forms in 17 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada) and has the general goal of sharing a new vision of the School Feeding Programme based on these fundamental elements of education for sustainability and for food production for the School Feeding Programmes, through a series of activities that strengthen the institutional process of these policies through interventions at a regional and national level. In the scope of the Project, specific activities are developed and are in accordance with the demand of each country and the regional activities are created to assure the general development of the region.
II. Concept of School Feeding Programmes- Sustainable Schools:
As a regional activity carried out within the scope of the project, a forum was created, called Forums of Experts on Sustainable School Feeding Programmes for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in 2012 in Santiago, Chile, with participation from universities, representations of food security and nutrition councils, government management teams, and international organizations working on the issue. The sustainability elements produced through the Forum have been a reference for development of the project of strengthening school feeding programs under the initiative of Latin America and the Caribbean Hunger Free 2025 Initiative, which are:
- Broad commitment of all actors involved in the SFP;
- Inter-sectoral and inter-institutional coordination;
- Financial capacity of the Government, allowing to allocate and endow a long term budget;
- Design of the SFP in accordance to the reality and needs of each country
- Clear legal and regulatory benchmarks that govern the implementation, supervision and social control of SFP;
- Participation and social control;
- Providing adequate, healthy food in concordance with the local culture of the student beneficiaries;
- Promotion of education for food and nutrition security and the formation of healthy eating habits;
- Infrastructure and adequate equipment for food preparation and consumption;
- Linkage with local markets, especially with Family Farms;
- Diagnostic, monitoring and evaluation systems
One of the most challenging elements of sustainability is, undoubtedly, the issue of Food and Nutrition Education (FNE) in schools. FNE actions in the school environment is considered as one of the main strategies to ensure the human right to adequate and healthy food, through the promotion of adequate and healthy food. Many positive results may arise from the practice of educational activities in schools, including prevention and control of chronic non-transmissible diseases and nutritional deficiencies, enhancement of food culture, and reinforcement of regional habits.
The project works with the perspective that by increasing training, studies, debates, seminars and congresses, it is possible to raise awareness and train people to address the problem, so that managers, directors, teachers, students and their families get involved and participate in activities in a systematic and efficient manner. In order to promote changes of habits necessary for the challenges presented by increasing global indicators of obesity and chronic non-transmissible disease.
As one of the regional activities within the framework of the Project, it was stipulated for an International Congress to discuss the specificity of food and nutritional education to generate sustainable school feeding programmes. The international congress will promote the meeting of professionals from several countries, with different practices and methodologies to approach FNE.
In addition, it is important to promote exchange among countries so that, through the dissemination of good practices, it is possible to intervene qualitatively in broad scenarios and with products legitimized by multicultural groups.
III. Congress Objectives:
Promote the articulation of different professionals in the areas of nutrition and education to disseminate good practices, at the same time providing the necessary inputs for the construction of content knowledge, methodologies and didactic-pedagogical procedures necessary for the development of qualitative actions of school feeding programmes and nutrition in schools of participating countries with a view of promoting sustainable school feeding programmes.
The Congress has three axes, each of which is expected to have an opportunity to meet and discuss different perspectives and approaches to the main theme. It starts from the epistemological point of view to arrive at the possible methodologies and policies. The axes will be developed through lectures, workshops and exhibitions of good practices.
V. Thematic Axes
- Epistemology of FNE
- Methodologies and good practices of FNE for SFPs
- Policies of FNE in the framework of School Feeding Programmes
In this perspective, topics will be discussed such as: what is FNE in the context of school feeding? What are its elements? Why has this topic been a challenge for education systems? What are the multiple meanings, interpretations, complexities and approaches? How to reverse the situations of lack of FNE in schools? How to lead with issues like obesity, chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD), anorexia, bulimia, and other syndromes of young people and adolescents? As teachers and nutritionists, have we thought enough about the relationship between the causes and the alternatives adopted and possible solutions for these issues?
In this axis, there will be professionals presenting good practices. Participants will be able to register for ten presentations, all with different topics. The 10 presentations will focus on inter-sectoral and interactive practices (in work groups) and will guarantee close working between the participants and the presenters.
Policies of FNE in the framework of School Feeding Programmes:
Food is a human right that should be guaranteed by means of public action through appropriate policy instruments. The role of the various public actors, civil society, and other segments such as parliaments and families is very important. In this regard, the importance of legislating and establishing public policies and integrated and appropriate Institutional Frameworks for the implementation of FNE strategies in schools will be addressed, and reinforcement of the understanding of the challenges they face and possible plans of action to be implemented in terms of FNE to achieve Sustainable School Feeding Programmes.