Three days orientation program on “VeGoTs Project” held in Gelephu

Opening Ceremony at the Conference hall at RDC Gelephu
Opening Ceremony at the Conference hall at RDC Gelephu

23 March 2014, Gelephu: The Council for RNR Research of Bhutan (CoRRB) in collaboration with Department of Health (Ministry of Health), Department of Education (Ministry of Education) and Department of Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests) conducted a three days orientation program for 15 participant teachers under Asian Vegetable Research Development Collaboration (AVRDC) from 21 to 23 March at the RNR Research Development Centre in Bhur, Gelephug.

Fieldwork making the beds ready for sowing

The program coordinator, BB Rai from CoRRB under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests addressed the Chief Guest Dr. GS Rai, Program Director of RNR Research Development Centre Bhur along with the fifteen teachers from the identified pilot schools. The program coordinator said that the main objective of the Vegetable Go to School programme (VeGots) is “to produce our own vegetables” through school children in order to improve health, intellectuality, knowledge gain, academic performance and also to provide improved nutritional security. In addition Namgay Thinley, a Horticulturist from DoA said “with this, we aim to do away the hidden hunger by adopting the cultivation and consumption of veggies of high content minerals and vitamins”.

Sowing vegetable seeds for consumption and sale by the schools

Initially 30 Schools were proposed for Asian Vegetable Research Development Collaboration (AVRDC) from which 15 schools attended the program in RNR RDC in Bhur. The orientation program was also monitored by the Trainer of Trainers (TOT) of Taiwan via Skype. The project globally known as School Vegetable Garden (SVG) provided Bhutan with a mandate to target schools at the primary level. Therefore the participant teachers were all selected from primary and lower schools targeting the age group of 10-12 years.

The three days orientation program also included practical training and knowledge related to sowing seeds, nursery plantation and creating of poly-tunnels. In addition the facilitators provided the participant teachers a sum of Nu. 5000/- for data collection and the sum of Nu.15,000/- to test schools to facilitate similar workshops, to establish their School Vegetable Garden and for other necessary interventions. They were also recommended to increase the consumption of local and wild vegetables like “Moringa” and “Amaranth” which has more nutritional value. During the closing ceremony participants were provided with some seeds and the questionnaires for data collection. With this they were requested to keep track of their work through pictures, documentations and data collection.

Group picture of the participants with the Chief Guest

A similar program is to be conducted for the remaining 15 pilot schools under AVRDC project from 28 to 30 March at RNR Dharla under Chukha Dzongkhag.

Reported with Pictures by Tashi Yangzom, ICS

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