Neelam Rahim | firstname.lastname@example.org
31 May 2023 | 19:28 CAT
A study by the University of Johannesburg Centre for Social Development and the Food Evolution Revolution Research Laboratory, or FERL, revealed the effects of Covid-19 on school nutrition in four critical provinces in South Africa. The study was conducted in four provinces – Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Western Cape, while the research centres on children’s insights about the school nutrition programme.
The study, conducted in partnership with the Tiger Brands Foundation, had two primary objectives. CSDA Senior Researcher Dr Sadiyya Haffajee said, firstly, it aimed to understand from the perspective of children themselves the effects of the shifts in the in-school nutrition program during the pandemic.
“We used various techniques to engage with children and understand their perceptions, and experiences.”
Secondly, it aimed to assess the nutritional value of the in-school nutritional program delivered at these schools, said Dr Haffejee.
Highlighting the study findings, the Director of FERL, Dr Hema Kesa, indicated that most NSNP lunch meals did not meet the RDA’s 25-30% benchmark for children’s recommended dietary allowances. While some have improved with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A, there is room for improvement regarding the menu and the nutritional content.
Meanwhile, the children acknowledged the importance of the food programme in terms of their learning, concentration and physical health.
Many children voiced the disruption caused by the pandemic and food insecurity exacerbated during this period, says Dr Haffejee.
Listen to the full interview on Sabahul Muslim with host Sulaimaan Ravat.