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Vegetables go to School: Improving Nutrition through Agricultural Diversification

Background: Malnutrition is one of the most serious health problems in the world, with enormous human and economic costs. To address this problem, aspects of education, water, sanitation, health, nutrition and agriculture/horticulture need to be addressed in a coordinated way to change the behaviour of individuals, communities and populations.

Aims: This project aims to contribute to improved nutritional security in the target countries through school vegetable gardens linked to other school-based health, nutrition and environmental initiatives with close participation of local communities. The Phase I aims to contribute to a balanced diet among the children and thus to improved nutritional status, by increasing the number of schools with school vegetable gardens in target countries, increasing the amount of information available to the children, their teachers and families, including management methods, and good agricultural, water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

Methods: The project has three phases: Phase I (2012/2013-2015) focusing on research-for-development in terms of local adaptation and adoption of school vegetable gardens; Phase II (2016-2018) which will scale-out the implementation of school vegetable gardens in target countries and a wrapping-up Phase III (2019-2020).

Expected Results: Phase I is expected to provide evidence that school vegetable garden programmes improve the nutrition of school children between six and 18 years, and to strengthen national capacities in planning, implementation, and evaluation of nutrition-sensitive school vegetable garden programmes in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Bhutan and Nepal. Phase I is expected to deliver key outputs against three outcomes: a) Improved capacity in the target countries to successfully implement school vegetable gardens; b) Pilot school vegetable gardens adopted and the produce consumed by the school girls and boys; c) Increased knowledge on how school vegetable gardens contribute to improved nutrition and health of school children (six – 18 years old), as well as the interaction with sanitation and hygiene.

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