This exciting project in Alto Beni, Bolivia works with indigenous women’s federations to harvest and process local, nutritious food products for the school lunch program to improve the nutrition and health of local children.
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Full Project Summary
Equipment, materials and training workshops will be provided to local agricultural producers to improve sustainable agriculture practices, food security, food processing capacity, and small-scale business management skills. Nutritious food products will be harvested, processed and sold by the women’s federations to the school breakfast program to improve the nutrition and health of local children.
Project OutcomeThe project will encourage individual producers to diversify their agricultural production and reduce food waste on their land, while at the same time promote collective organizing for small-scale economic development. Municipal governments are involved as partners in this initiative, participating in cost sharing for both the ‘school feeding program’ and the promotion of ‘local consumption of local foods’ program. “I walk for 45 minutes to get to school so I have to leave my house early in the morning. I sometimes do not eat breakfast and so by the time I get to school, I am very hungry.” says Julia Mendez, a grade five student in Alto Beni, Bolivia. “I try to concentrate on my studies but I am often distracted by hunger. We used to go to a nearby field to look for bananas or mangos during our morning break, but the farmer has recently put up a fence to stop us from entering his land.” The story of the student who must walk long distances to reach school and spends much of the day hungry is a common one in Bolivia. Parents of school children here all remember having a school breakfast program in place when they attended schools and all testify to its capacity to increase school performance. Since the federal government passed its National Development Plan in 2007, reiterating the responsibilities of municipalities to assume local school feeding programs, local citizens have been pressuring municipal governments to fulfill their obligations to school children. But governments here have many options, and the pressure to contract the local school feeding program to transnational pop and cookie companies is mounting.
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