The SEAMEO Council during its 50th meeting held in Kuala Lumpur recently took note of the progress and endorsed the regional implementation of SEAMEO RECFON’s flagship programmes on Nutrition Goes to School (NGTS) and Early Childhood Care, Nutrition and Education (ECCNE).
The updates on the NGTS and ECCCNE programmes were among the 18 working papers discussed by the 11 Ministers of Education of Southeast Asia during their annual meeting held at Sunway Resort Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 23-25 July 2019.
SEAMEO RECFON initiated the NGTS and ECCNE programmes in 2016 and 2017, respectively as its flagship programmes under its Second Five-Year Development Plant (Financial Year 2016/2017-2020/2021). These programmes particularly address SEAMEO Priority Areas No. 1 (i.e. Achieving Universal Early Childhood Care and Education) and No. 2 (i.e., Addressing Barriers to Inclusive Education). They are also aimed at strengthening of the prevention and control of double burden of nutrition problems in the SEA region and their impacts to the students’ cognitive and school performances.
Aimed at developing AWESOME (Active, Well-nourished, and Smart Of ME) school children through school-based nutrition interventions, the NGTS Programme consists of five major activities. These are (1) School Readiness Mapping, (2) Training of Trainers for school teachers and principals via online and face-to-face modes, (3) Establishing Healthy School Canteens and School Gardens for nutrition literacy, (4) Building and strengthening information management system for monitoring and evaluation of NGTS progress, and (5) Advocacy to mainstream NGTS Programme in school policies and regular school activities. The Programme adopts the DEPPIS framework which aims to strengthen the “Demand” through creating awareness and improving knowledge-attitude-practices of the students on good nutrition; “SuPply” through provision of healthy and nutritious foods in the school environment, “Policy” through establishing policies to support NGTS implementation in the school environment and “Information System” to monitor and document effectiveness of the programme.
As of 2019, SEAMEO RECFON has mapped 1,024 primary, junior and senior, and vocational schools in Indonesia as regards their readiness to implement the NGTS programme activities. The Centre has provided training on nutrition education both via face-to-face and online modes to 2,641 school teachers at all levels all over Indonesia. The Centre has also produced five manuals and 11 online course materials on nutrition education, school gardening, healthy school canteen, and school-based management to enrich learning process for its NGTS training activities.
On the other hand, the ECCNE Programme was conceived to provide an integrated model to optimize early childhood growth and development consisting of essential components, namely: parenting, early childhood care and education, health and nutrition, and policy and multi-sectoral partnerships. The Programme focuses on mapping the mapping of the health and nutrition competencies of early childhood education (ECE) teachers and development of ECCNE models for kindergarten, nursery and daycare children which also involves parents and community health centre workers. SEAMEO RECFON works with two other SEAMEO Centres for this Programme, namely: SEAMEO Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care Education and Parenting (CECCEP) in Indonesia and SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Medicine (TROPMED).
After a year of implementation, the ECCNE Program has mapped 17,821 ECE teachers ECE teachers from 34 Provinces (484 districts) in Indonesia. It has also trained 680 mothers, 115 community health workers, 14 nutritionists and 42 ECE teachers from Bogor in West Java, Malang in East Java, Sambas in West Kalimantan, and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara on nutrition education to prevent stunting and ECCNE in disaster-prone areas. The Programme has also produced flipchart on balanced nutrition for ECE teachers, food guideline “tumpeng gizi” game, picture story book, and a guidebook on ECCNE in disaster-prone areas.