FIDR is a non-governmental organization working to support children in developing countries and people affected by disasters.

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2020/04/16

Nutrition Education Training Videos Now Ready for Cambodian Teachers

In an effort to improve the quality of Cambodian nutrition education, strengthening human resource capacity has become more prioritized in order to produce curriculums and textbooks and improve teacher’s teaching skill. By 2025, the goal is to introduce a new unit of nutrition in health classes for all public primary, lower and upper secondary schools.
With a local NGO, Media One, FIDR has been facilitating the production of videos relevant to the Cambodian Food Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) since last year. So far, 6 videos have been completed: 1) Context of Nutrition Education in Cambodia (introductory video), 2) What is FBDG, 3) Seven Guidelines of FBDG, 4) Energy Requirements, 5) Serving Sizes, and 6) Materials Creation Development. Completed in September last year, the videos were then officially approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) of Cambodia in January.
The videos will be utilized at various events such as teachers’ trainings and workshops.

Videos are available to watch on the official Facebook of MoEYS.
Click here to watch the videos:https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=476494973526067

2020/12/28

Efforts in national level and grassroots level to introduce nutrition education in Cambodian public school

Training on nutrition for staff of the School Health Department

Cambodia is planning to start health education that includes nutrition in all public primary, lower and upper secondary schools in 2025. For the time being, FIDR has been supporting Cambodian government in establishing a system of implementing nutrition education while improving the school environment towards the start of nutrition education in the future.

To prepare for the nutrition education, it is necessary to develop health textbooks, syllabus, course guidelines as well as conduct training for teachers who will be in charge of this subject at shools. The School Health Department (SHD) of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), which is responsible for all the above affairs has been facing a shortage of nutrition specialist and human resources. Therefore, FIDR is currently conducting training on nutrition for staff of the department and supporting them in developing textbooks and instruction guidelines.

授業の様子 Students were learning about nutrition through games

Ms. Eri Kai, a nutrition specialist working on this project, commented on the efforts in introducing nutrition education in the schools, "In Cambodia, the teacher-centered approach is commonly used as a teaching method. Students are asked to repeat what the teacher said and copy everything teachers wrote on the blackboard in their notebook. Teachers usually use only textbooks as teaching material. However, this method is not effective to help students remember what they learned. Therefore, we encourage teachers to adopt a participatory approach in teaching, in which they involve the students through conducting classroom activities. As an attempt to promote participatory approach, we also introduced them how to make supplementary teaching materials other than textbooks.”

On the other hand, FIDR has been also working on improving the school facilities, where the nutrition education will be practiced in the upcoming time. When FIDR staff visited some schools to introduce new teaching materials, they found that the hygienic condition was poor and the hand-washing area was broken and unusable in some places. It is critical because the poor hygienic condition increases the risk of infectious disease. Under the circumstances, children’s nutrition status will not be improved, even if they get enough necessary nutrients. Therefore, FIDR has selected four schools in Kampong Cham Province as target schools and has been working on improving the hygienic condition to make these schools become model schools.

The leadership of principals is very important in improving the school environment. However, there is no training system for in-service teachers and school management members in Cambodia. Therefore, FIDR has been supporting the capacity building of principals. Last year, FIDR supported the principals to visit two schools of other province to get some insights into the school setting and environment. Principal of one school, who was very inspired after the visit, is gradually improving the environment of his school such as setting up a hand-washing area near the toilet with the cooperation of local people and temples.

壊れたシンク Hand-washing area before maintenance

改修した手洗場 Hand-washing area after maintenance

2020/12/14

FIDR participated in the "National Nutrition Day" in Cambodia

On November 25, staff of Nutrition Education and Promotion Project and Food and Nutrition Security Project attended the 7th National Nutrition Day which was held in Kampong Cham Province.

This event was organized by the Council of Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD). This year, the chosen theme was "Strengthening Food Systems for Healthy Diets". With this theme, the government and representatives of aid agencies emphasized the importance of involving various sectors such as agriculture, education, health, hygiene, and social security in dealing with the challenges related to food security and nutrition. It came from the necessity of securing food and improving the environments for food production, processing, distribution and consumption in Cambodia, for healthy diets for all the people.

600 people including the Deputy Prime Minister, officers from center government and provincial government, members of the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance in Cambodia (SUN-CSA), NGOs, and students, etc participated in the event. At the venue, there were exhibition booths of international organizations, NGOs and private companies which are engaging in nutrition-related activities in Cambodia. FIDR also had one booth and staff of Nutrition Education and Promotion Project introduced the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) to participants by distributing FBDG materials.

This year, FIDR supported 19 principals and teachers from four target schools in Kampong Cham Province to join this event. It was the first time for them to attend the national events related to nutrition, and they were really interested in the event. They shared their feeling after attending the event as follows.

“I felt surprised that many sectors working together in nutrition, so it is really important issue”
“Through the event, I felt encouraged to strengthen the activities such as school gardening and nutrition education which have been implementing in my school now. If these activities are well practiced at school, they will benefit not only our students, school and community, but they are also aligned with the national strategy as well as with what many stakeholders are working together.”

2020/05/18

Nutrition Education Starts with Creating a "Supportive School Environment"

Cambodia is planning to start health education that includes nutrition at schools nationwide in 2025. Four schools in Kampong Cham Province are selected as our target schools and they are taking a lead in offering some nutrition lessons this year, aiming to become the recognized model in the country. As part of the preparation, we started to provide nutrition training to selected teachers in these schools last year. The school principal from each school also joined the training because it is essential to ensure they understand the importance of nutrition and take the initiative in providing health information to the students. While schools play an important role helping students learn about food and nutrition, actively involving people in the school system, including children and their families, food vendors, farmers, and local government is also imperative so that they can help shape a healthier food environment for schoolchildren. Last December, the principals and selected teachers from these three schools, and a local government representative visited two model schools in Siem Reap Province to get some insights into the school setting and environment. Both are famous for their outstanding achievements.

The first school visited had received support from JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in the past and the principal here is famously known for his leadership abilities. The school currently has more than 6,000 students, yet it is very well managed. Like in Japan, students take turns to clean their restrooms, and their school uniform shoes are neatly placed in the shoe boxes. The teachers from our target schools were impressed by the cleanliness and how well organized the school was.

The other school is one of the only three schools in Cambodia that run as a full-time school. It offers lunch to the students, which rarely happens at other schools*. In order to provide school lunch, the school principal strove hard to receive support not only from an international organization but also from the parents and the local community; students' parents contribute some money and supply, and residents from the local community provide some ingredients. The school has been active in developing a school garden as well.

After visiting these schools, "If they can do it, we can do it too!" one of the teachers from our target schools remarked. They discussed the future plans and are slowly but certainly implementing some changes at their schools.

*School children in Cambodia generally attend school for only half a day due to a lack of facilities and teachers. When the schools provide meals, they usually serve breakfast.

The target school, teachers eagerly asking questions to the principal of the model school (right).

2020/05/18

FIDR was Selected as Executive Member Organization of the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance in Cambodia (SUN-CSA)

FIDR has been conducting nutrition improvement projects for more than 10 years in Cambodia, where nutrition and dietetics professionals do not exist. FIDR established the system to provide hospital food and nutrition services, formulated Nutrition standards for schoolchildren, and are promoting nutrition education by developing IEC materials and support writing of school textbooks. In February 2020, FIDR was selected as one of five member organizations of the Executive Committee of the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN-CSA) in Cambodia.

"SUN (= Scaling Up Nutrition) Movement" is a movement to strengthen political commitment and accountability for improving nutrition, which was initiated by the United Nations in 2010 and being participated by 61 countries as of March 2020. Cambodia joined the SUN movement in June 2014, and as a government agency, the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) leads different technical working groups with line Ministries to implement national multi-sectoral nutrition events.

SUN has various networks. SUN movement is supported by 4 networks: the United Nations Network (UNN), the Business Network (SBN), the Donor Network (SDN) and the Civil Society Alliance (CSA). FIDR joined the SUN-CSA in May 2017. Forty-two NGOs are members of SUN-CSA as at the end of the year 2019, each of which is involved in activities related to nutrition improvement, maternal and child health, food security, and hygiene practices.

In Cambodia, SUN-CSA is currently taking the lead in sharing information among domestic member organizations, disseminating information to governments and the general public, and cooperating with governments and the private sector. In addition, UN agencies (FAO, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, etc.) have strong ties with the Cambodian government and SUN-CSA.

Specific activities of SUN-CSA include:
• Reports and presentations on the activities of each organization through regular meetings and gatherings with government and UN officials
• Once in 2years, the survey document summarizing information on members' nutrition activities is issued.
• Sharing of training information and news from each group
• Conducts events for university students and youth.
• Planning and implementation of Cambodian National Nutrition Day
• Participation in consultation on national policy formulation, and so on.

FIDR introduced "Food-Based Dietary Guidelines" in (1), FIDR staffs participates in trainings in (3), participates in (5) every year since 2017, and almost every time in (6).

This time, FIDR was selected as one of SUN-CSA Executive Committee Memberss because of active participation in SUN-CSA activities and was nominated by other organizations. It means that FIDR has been widely recognized as an active organization working on nutrition improvement. In the future, FIDR hopes to strengthen its ties with other organizations and government agencies and to expand its activities in cooperation with various actors.

Members of the SUN-CSA Executive Committee. The third person from the left is Ms. Hong Kimlong, staff of FIDR Cambodia (From SUN-CSA-Cambodia Newsletter: January  February 2020)

2018/06/20

Cambodian FBDG now on FAO Website

More than 100 countries in the world have developed their own Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) according to the local food culture and foodstuff commonly available at market. Those FBDGs are listed on the website of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Cambodia was unequipped with FBDG for a long time. Requested by the Ministry of Health, FIDR led the working group for establishing Cambodian FBDG for school-aged children, which was eventually finalized last year and endorsed by MoH. Lately, this Cambodia FBDG was posted in the FAO’s website; the image of the tri-color national flag featuring Angkor Wat was added in the list of FBDG holder countries. It means that the development of Cambodian FBDG was in compliance with the international standard that requires scientific evidences obtained by rigorous survey and analysis.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Website

Because it was the first experience for Cambodia to produce FBDG, it is far from a perfect one. Yet, it is a sure one step forward to the better nutrition of the Cambodian children. FIDR is going to challenge toward the objective by actively holding hands with MoH, Ministry of Education, and various organizations.

2018/06/18

Introducig Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Schools

Food pyramid poster in the classroom

On April 24, 2018, the School Health Department, in collaboration with the World Food Program, held the Cooking Competition at Khom Thmey Primary School, Koulen District, Preah Vihear province. This program is designed to encourage volunteer chefs to continue their cooking activities for the students in schools where the school meal program supported by World Food Program is being implemented. This event was the first time for Preah Vihear province to celebrate this. There are attendees from provincial and district Department of Education, School Health Department, World Food Program, chefs and school principals from 16 primary schools.

For the Judgment Committee, three were 2 officials from the Technical Office of the School Health Department and one Deputy District Governor of Kulen. The judgment was made based on four important points: sanitation and hygiene, organizing, food appearance, and tastes. The first place was given to the chef from Koh Ker Primary School, who cooked Lok Lak (fried beef with fresh salad, onion and tomato), followed by Kor kor soup (Khmer Traditional Soup with vegetables and fish) from the Khom Thmey primary school, and Fried vegetables with pork from Romchek Primary School. All chefs enjoyed regardless of winning the prize.

The chefs met on the platform and the foods were shown for tasting

During the time that the chefs were cooking, FIDR invited the school principals from 16 schools and introduced Food-based Dietary Guidelines for school-aged children using IEC materials. The school principals were encouraged to disseminate FBDG to their teachers and students and promote healthy eating habits and life style among children. Dr. Kimsotheavy, the director of the School Health Department remarked: “It is important and very meaningful that the government (School Health Department of Ministry of Education), UN organization (WFP) and NGO ( FIDR) continue to work together and organize joint events to promote Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Cambodian children".

FIDR staff was presenting a brief explanation on the poster to school principals

The school principals came back from the program and placed the poster on the wall in the classrooms.
Some of the students were talking about the food in the pyramid. They said it’s very interesting and they understand what the messages say.

2018/06/13

FIDR introduced Cambodian FDBG at SUNCSA workshop

FIDR staff introducing the Cambodian Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for school-aged children at the workshop

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), a movement which was launched by the United Nations initiative to strengthen political commitment and accountability for nutrition improvement, has been recently expanding in the world. Now such movements have been started in 60 countries while some NGOs dealing with nutrition improvement cooperated and started SUN Civil Society Alliance (SUNCSA) in Cambodia in 2017. FIDR also works on nutrition improvement and takes part in SUNCSA as a member of it.

From 5th to 6th of April, in the workshop to talk about future efforts and midterm report of the 4-year strategy regarding food security and nutrition, FIDR announced about Food Based Dietary Guidelines and efforts on promotion of nutrition education.

Participants showed their interests on IEC materials and the development process of Cambodian FBDG

Our team is supposed to make a report about a case in the 7th Asian Congress of Dietetics in Hong Kong in July, and our efforts in Cambodia are going to be internationally introduced at the conference.

2018/02/21

We held a seminar on completion of eating habits guidelines

Picture with all participants on the FBDG launching seminar

For the first time in Cambodia, the first Food-Based Dietary Guideline (Cambodia version - Food Balance Guide) for children in school age was finally completed by the effort of FIDR and related ministries, international organizations and NGOs in Cambodia in developing the guideline. This dietary guideline was officially certified by the Ministry of Health of Cambodia and became a new guideline for nutritional intake of children. During the development of the guideline, there were many issues to be cleared, therefore, it was a pleasure for FIDR staffs to be able to successfully conduct this FBDG launching seminar.

Panel discussion with related ministries' representatives

On the launching seminar (November 20th, 2017), many participants from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education of Cambodia, and other stakeholders from rural provinces came to listen the introduction of dietary guideline. In addition, we also had a pleasure of welcoming Professor Nobuo Yoshiike and Associate Professor Kaoru Kusama from Aomori University of Health and Welfare, who have been providing technical support for the project team so far, and gave a talk about practical cases of Japanese version dietary guidelines in the launching seminar.
For the Cambodian participants (especially who came from rural provinces), this was a rare opportunity for them to listen lectures from Japanese professors, so they listened the lectures enthusiastically.

Professor Yoshiike (on the left) gave a talk about Japanese case

Moreover, we also welcomed the representatives of Kyoto Morning Rotary Club who have had financial support in preparing teaching materials for dietary guidelines. By seeing FIDR project’ sites in actual, they can understand more about the activities that we have been implementing and we hope that the distance between donors, local staffs and Cambodia people has been shortened through this time. This seminar was also a good opportunity for us, as project members, to realize that we are supported by many people and we highly appreciate these supports.

In addition, the seminar was broadcasted as national news on Cambodian television. We expected that more Cambodian people will know and get interested in this topic.

The dietary guideline which was formulated this time (FBDG) is not our final goal. Promotion and dissemination of this guideline are important process for us to do as the next step of the project.

In the future, "Health" will be an official subject in Cambodian primary education and this dietary guideline would be published in the textbooks like the dietary guideline which has been used in Japanese textbooks about health and home economics. However, because there is no teacher about nutrition or nutritionist teaching in Cambodia in current, nutrition education and dietary education have not been conducted now.

Therefore, for the time being, in order to promote nutrition education at schools in Cambodia, it is necessary to conduct training and capacity building for the teachers as well. FIDR will continuously support these training activities in the future.

Food pyramid that shaped of Angkor Wat shows the food based dietary guidelines(26/6/2017)

2018/02/21

For the health of children in Cambodia
~ One more step to completion of "Food-Based Dietary Guidelines "~

Working group consisting of members from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, WHO and National Health Research Institute discussed about design of the food pyramid and wording of the slogan.

The Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) consists of several simple slogans which are easy to understand by everyone and a food pyramid showing what and how many food should be eaten to have a healthy eating habit. According to the "World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition" adopted at the International Nutrition Conference held in 1992 co-hosted by the United Nations agency WHO (World Health Organization) and FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), Dietary Guidelines should be established by each country to promote appropriate eating habits and lifestyle habits for their own citizens. On the FAO official website where the dietary guidelines of each country are introduced, among 29 member countries of Asia Pacific region, only 17 countries mainly developed countries are represented their dietary guidelines.

However, there is no Cambodian name in that. In order to establish the guideline, it is necessary to have clear information about dietary habits and nutritional condition based on scientific evidence, then repeat the verification of the contents many times. But in Cambodia where there is no professional nutritionist, no training institution about nutrition, the expertise, labor, time, and funds are strongly necessary. Therefore, the establishment of dietary guidelines has been postponed for a long time.

FIDR has conducted the project on introducing hospital diet and nutrition management systems and human resource development at Cambodia National Pediatric Hospital since 2008, so FIDR have established a good relationship with the Ministry of Health of Cambodia. With their trust, FIDR received a request from Ministry of Health to support for the formulation of food dietary guidelines in 2013.

In order to create a food dietary guideline, a "recommended dietary allowance - RDA" (dietary reference intakes) is required by each country to indicate how much nutrient should be taken per day. Since this RDA does not even exist in Cambodia, a “recommended dietary allowance” is required to be formulated firstly, by conducting the nationwide survey from 2014, beginning with researching the dietary intake situation and nutritional status of the target population in Cambodia.

This activity is the first challenge not only of Cambodia but also of FIDR, so we had to steadily proceed the formulation of guideline with precious advices from Japanese experts. (Reference: Past Articles). Additionally, in order to disseminate the Food Balance Guide, we also created some teaching materials such as posters, pamphlets which are easy to understand, then conducted a pilot study with elementary and junior high school students in urban and rural areas. Based on the research and study results as well as advices of working group members and other experts, we revised the contents many times to have a good product.

It is really a difficult journey until everyone who are involving in the formulation of the dietary guidelines could say "We all agreed! Let's go with this!".Now, after three-year from the beginning of the project, finally we have one more step further to submit the guidelines to the Ministry of Health.

"Let’s try for One more step!"
Our members of the project team are encouraging each other and working on our best for the health of children in Cambodia.