USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
USAID's Avansa Agrikultura Project
USAID/Avansa Project

USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project is committed to the development of a sustainable, market driven agriculture sector in Timor-Leste. To achieve greater impact, it is critical to collaborate with various government entities, private sector organizations and other NGOs.  On September 16, the project signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to jointly promote and deliver activities to improve nutrition and good hygiene practices and thereby address the key challenges of rural poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition.
Proposed within the MoU is collaboration on four key activities:
1.  A Nutrition and Sanitation Awareness Campaign;
2.  A School Nutrition Garden Competition;
3.  School Feeding Program; and
4.  Training of Trainer Activities with Ministry of Education Teachers and Coordinators.
The aim of this collaboration is to teach students about good practices for farm sustainability, improved nutrition, and hygiene.  It is hoped that these important life skills and knowledge will empower students to improve their understanding and practice of nutrition and sanitation.  The activities are designed to encourage students to grow their own food and to utilize their produce in healthy ways through improved nutrition practices. 

Mission Director Diana Putman stated, “In terms of nutrition, USAID is committed to supporting positive and long-lasting change for Timorese citizens.  Through this partnership with the Ministry of Education we hope to address critical issues of malnutrition by empowering young people to make better and more informed decisions concerning their nutritional habits.”

Dina Karic, Chief of Party of USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project, stated that “It is vitally important to work with people of all ages to have them informed on nutrition, sanitation and hygiene skills and awareness.  The nexus of agriculture, nutrition and public health can bring lasting results to people’s lives’.
USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project and the MoE have an opportunity to empower students and increase their knowledge concerning sanitation and hygiene, encourage families to habitually consume a diversified diet and value good nutrition.  Following the signing of this MoU, USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project will coordinate directly with the Municipality MoE offices to develop a schedule of activities for each target school in Aileu, Ainaro, Bobonaro, Ermera, and Dili.