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Nutrition Project Boosts Pupils' Academic Performance

25 pupils from the school who were performing poorly in class were fed on the vegetables and foods during lunch to see whether or not their academic performance would improve.
25 Apr 2019 11:32
Varieties of African indigenous beans that are iron-rich and when consumed can improve on health and mind of school-going children.

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 The Multi-Sectoral Food Security and Nutrition project in Kabarole district has boosted the academic performance of pupils.

In 2015, the district benefited from the project whose major objective is to address the problem of malnutrition in school-going children and women of child-bearing age.

The six-year project worth 10 Billion shillings is funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security under the supervision of the World Bank. The project which is in 15 districts is being implemented by the ministries of Agriculture, Health and Education.

Under the program, seeds are supplied to the beneficiary schools to plant in their demonstration gardens.   

At St Peters and Paul Primary School in Fort Portal, demonstration gardens of orange fresh sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables were established.

25 pupils from the school who were performing poorly in class were fed on the vegetables and foods during lunch to see whether or not their academic performance would improve.    

Results for the six terms for the pupils who were picked from various classes starting from P.1 to P.7 show that most of them have improved their performance.

For instance, Melisha Kazairwe, who was in P6 at the start of the case study, got aggregates 16 in first term, 10 in second term, and 16 in third term. 

However Kazairwe’s performance improved in 2018 when she scored aggregates 14 in first term, 15 second term and 8 in third term.  

Angella Mbabazi, another pupil who had 32 aggregates in 2017 first term ended 2018 third term with 23 aggregates.    

Daphine Namara, the project started when she in P.5. In First term she scored 21 aggregates and her performance kept on improving until last year third term in primary six when she scored 10 aggregates.

Ritah Katusiime joined the case study when she was in P.4 at the time. Her performance according to the school records was 246 as a sum of the scores from the tests she did. As of 2018 third term in P.5, the total from her tests had increased to 376.

Angelica Kabasiita, the school’s head teacher notes that they ensured the selected pupils have lunch from school and eat foods from the demonstration garden that would be prepared for them. She says they are mostly feed on egg plants.  

//Cue in: “Balya enjagi, nizo…  

Cue out… abo abaana.”//     

Francis Moses Musinguzi, a P6 teacher notes that even the pupils are now active in class. He says that if all parents fed their children on these foods, they could indeed boost their performance in class.     

//Cue in: “I also eat…

Cue out… and another one.”//

Paul Katiisa, the project coordinator, says the improved performance of the 25 pupils would be monitored to ensure they eat the foods. 

He says their research confirms that the foods and cereals that are being promoted under the project help in health and brain development of children.

The 2006 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey showed that at the national level, 38 per cent of children below five years are stunted, 16 per cent underweight while six per cent are wasted.

These high prevalence levels of malnutrition have a negative impact on the general survival, growth and development of children under five and slow down progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals and the overall national development.  

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