In Burkina Faso, chronic malnutrition affects a third of the population, with one tenth suffering from acute malnutrition. Children are particularly harmed by this blight. Substantial progress therefore remains to be made in order to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development goal of “Zero Hunger” by 2030.
The project “A Healthy and Sustainable Diet at School” (ASDE for its abbreviation in French), implemented in cooperation with the Agroecology Unit, focuses on the implementation of agroecological gardens in order to improve nutrition and the conditions for learning among students, while preserving the environment. To do so, fields and gardens were constructed in fifteen schools. Teachers received a training on agroecology, enabling them to pass on theoretical and practical knowledge to their students. In addition, children were made aware of the impact of a healthy diet on their health.
The cultivated crops will be served to students during lean periods prior to harvest, when there is the greatest shortage of food. Any surplus will be sold by school associations in order to finance future harvests. This revenue generating activity will allow schools to improve their financial self-sufficiency and will enable the benefits of the project to continue in the long-term.
Agroecology is an approach that aims for a reasonable and sustainable use of agricultural and water resources. Given the Burkinabè climate is particularly arid, agroecology also helps preserve and replenish soils. Rural regions access to legumes is thereby sustainably improved.
The project “A Healthy and Sustainable Diet at School” therefore uses a holistic approach that puts forward solutions that integrate the three axes of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental concerns – in order to address the root causes of malnutrition, poverty and inequality.
To assess the success of the project, the School’s department will collaborate with the Medicines Unit and the University of Ouagadougou in order to publish a study measuring the impact of the project on student’s dietary habits and on the community more broadly.
15 schools, 3,200 students and 10,000 members of the local community are participating in the project.