A big welcome to a regional school feeding programme

Dionne Cush

Welcoming the regional school feeding programme

In my previous blog post I mentioned that I was looking forward to the presentation on the (regional) School Feeding Program because of how powerful the initiative is and how impactful it could be. Guess what?

I’m blown away!

Blown away by the approaches and strategies used by some of the countries in implementing this, blown away by some of the results and the involvement of parents, but more importantly blown away to know some of the challenges some countries face while others are successful at it.

It is quite literally mind blowing to know that such an impactful initiative is being executed in parts of the region and it isn’t highlighted to the fullest extent.

Hon. Moses Jn Baptiste, Parliament Member of St. Lucia, presented on their experience with the School Feeding Programme. He highlighted their strategies including support that was given by private sector and other key government agencies despite the Ministry of Health being the driving force behind its advocacy.

He even mentioned that with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Technical Staff, the schools even started their own kitchen garden.

Yes! I had previously highlighted how this would complement such an initiative and also aid in supporting food security and motivating children to get involved in the agriculture sector.

The St. Lucia committee was successful in adding this aspect by getting parents involved in building the shadehouses and also working in the kitchen areas, while the private sector encouraged kitchen gardens.

The citizens were very receptive since it aids with reducing their personal food bill and promoting healthy lifestyles especially given the involvement of prominent members of society in the campaign.

While St. Lucia’s School Feeding Programme is growing well and experiencing favour from the citizens, the Jamaican Government is yet to achieve that level of success.

Ms. Marcia Dawkins, Ministry of Education in Jamaica, made mention of this within her presentation by highlighting some of the challenges her administration has been faced with. However, they are still making efforts through advocacy to encourage individuals to invest in the school feeding programme and support it.

I am very impressed by the efforts of the countries that are leading the way by incorporating a School Feeding Program, and by extension kitchen gardening, in their programing.

I truly hope other countries will seek the support of FAO and get on board with this initiative, especially the Government of Guyana.

As Hon. Moses Jn Baptiste, Parliament member of St. Lucia stated “Children are the ones to lead the future. Therefore we have to ensure that sustainable school feeding continues”.


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