A new $3 million project that aims to improve food security and nutrition of women and young people in Egypt was announced today by FAO. The project is being financed by the government of Italy.
Unemployment rates for young people and women in Egypt are estimated at around 25percent, much higher than the national average of 10 percent. At the same time, health surveys in Egypt have shown that malnutrition is the root cause of over one third of sicknesses affecting children under the age of five.
The project aims to improve food and nutrition security through higher food production, nutrition education for women and young people and capacity building to strengthen national and decentralized institutions.
The project will establish Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools and Community Model Gardens to give women and young people the opportunity to manage their own microfood production enterprises, to learn how to grow food and to raise small animals, and to improve household incomes through the sale of food products.
Training on how to produce organic fertilizers, moreover, will allow households to avoid purchasing expensive fertilizers.
Additional training will cover: food processing and preservation techniques; household budgeting; record keeping; food marketing, microcredit and savings opportunities; improved food preparation and consumption practices; and food safety and hygiene.
The project will also have a nutrition education component. Nutrition education and behaviour change communication plans will be developed together with local communities.
In order to reduce child malnutrition, these plans will promote food diversification, food hygiene, family planning, breast feeding and complementary feeding practices. Radio dramas and spots, videos and events will also be used to promote better nutrition education. Community kitchens will offer women the opportunity to meet regularly and use knowledge acquired to prepare healthy meals using fruits and vegetables produced in their microgardens.
Training for government officials
National and local government staff and extension and community workers will be trained in food production and nutrition so that they become familiar with nutrition and health issues, approaches to nutrition improvement and knowledge of household food production methods.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – Press Release – 18 June 2012