Parents and Community gardeners have begun reaping the fruit of their labors, harvesting crops grown as part of the School Gardens component of the USDA funded McGovern-Dole Food For Education/ALIGN program. The harvest will bolster the nutrition of children in the environs of the 92 target schools. Even though a political crisis has disrupted many government services, parent engagement in the proper nutrition and education of their children has been undiminished and their participation and buy-in of the program has been heightened in the vacuum created by the current political crisis. All 92 Communities have remained engaged, continuing to receive take-home rations for their home-bound children, work the gardens and check out books as part of the mobile-reading initiative, devised to provide continuity for the children in a disrupted learning environment.
NSI and its partners working in collaboration with the Cameroon Ministries of Basic Education and Public Health will further strive to increase the capacity of government Institutions. We will advocate for more government investment and support for literacy and education initiatives, increasing the engagement of local organizations and community groups with the objective being to significantly:
- Improve student attendance.
- Improve student attentiveness.
- Increase access to school supplies and materials.
- Improve the quality of literacy instruction.
Field research has shown us that while there is enthusiasm for education when incentives are present, there is much room for improvement if communities and local and state government institutions can be shown the benefits of investing in education.
While ALIGN’s direct object is to assist in the provision of baseline essentials for nutrition, sanition and education, it is our projection that continued success may inspire national investment in education infrastructure, facilities and committed professionals, to help bring our target communities firmly in to the modern world in a sustainable way.