67 Minutes for Improved Nutrition and Food Security
Jakarta, 20 August - Students from 11 Adiwiyata schools in Tangerang, Banten, gathered with their teachers and community members at SMKN 2 Tangerang, a vocational school for agriculture, to plant soya and mung beans to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day 2016 and launch a Global Community for Sustainability of the Present and Future Generations.
“This is so much fun! I had no idea that I can do something for world hunger and improve the environment,” said 12 year-old Kayla as she dug into the ground with her shovel. “I’m learning about Nelson Mandela and how to be healthy and defeat hunger.”
More than 87 students, teachers, parents, government officials, community members and United Nations staff contributed 67 minutes of community service to honour the legacy of inspirational world leader Nelson Mandela – one minute for every year Mandela spent fighting for social justice. The community gardening event, organized jointly by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Jakarta, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the DeTara Foundation, a community-based organization, and local government highlighted how everyone can contribute to environmental sustainability, food and nutritional security through the simple act of planting pulses and legumes.
Epitomizing the theme for the Day – Take action, Inspire change – the event demonstrated the power of community action for healthy and sustainable food production and diet. “Activities like this encourage students to care for and love the environment,” said Lizza Puspadewi, Head of Tangerang Environmental Management Agency, “They can feel they are part of the solution.”
In recognition of 2016 being the International Year of Pulses, the community gardening event showcased the importance of pulses and legumes – such as dried beans, lentils and peas – as vegetable proteins in the food chain. The Year was declared by the United Nations to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The FAO has been nominated to facilitate the implementation of the Year in collaboration with governments, development organizations, non-governmental organizations and other partners.
“Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them.” -- Nelson Mandela.
“At FAO, we have been inspired by Mandela's repeated calls to address food insecurity and malnutrition, and the many social and economic ills that prevent people from accessing a healthy diet. Mandela’s struggle is a source of inspiration for all of us towards the eradication of hunger in the world, and to achieve food and nutrition security for all, said Mark Smulders, FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. “Pulses are climate smart: they simultaneously adapt to climate change, and contribute to mitigating its effects,” Smulders said, “apart from their nutritional value, in agricultural production, the cultivation of pulses helps us to mitigate the impact of climate change.” It is estimated that, globally, some 190 million hectares of pulses contribute five to seven million tonnes of nitrogen to the soil. As pulses can fix their own nitrogen in the soil, less fertilizers are needed, and in this way, they play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. FAO and DeTara Foundation have sponsored various community gardens in schools, engaging children from 12-15 years old in planting, tending and harvesting vegetables and other food staples. The produce is also sold to the local market, demonstrating to the children the value of the crops they have grown and providing a secondary income to the school.
Adiwiyata School is a joint programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Education and Culture to promote environmental education, within the Education for Sustainable Development Framework Program. The Adiwiyata School Program aims to encourage schools to respect and preserve the environment. The Ministries have awarded selected schools with an Adiwiyata certificate for their pro-environment activities that include curriculum and school policy, budget allocation and management.
It was fitting that the event was held in Tangerang City, which is in the forefront of cities with environmentally friendly policies. It has received the Adipura award, an urban environmental management rating, supervised by the Minster of Environment and Forestry, seven consecutive times, including in 2016. The event paid special attention to gender parity by ensuring equal participation of girls and boys and female and male community leaders. It highlighted the importance of male and female participation in the food chain and how making healthy diet decisions will benefit both girls and boys in their individual development needs.
The event paid special attention to gender parity by ensuring equal participation of girls and boys and female and male community leaders. It highlighted the importance of male and female participation in the food chain and how making healthy diet decisions will benefit both girls and boys in their individual development needs.
Sunaina Lowe, UNIC Jakarta Director reiterated Mandela’s message: “President Mandela epitomized the slogan for the Day’s commemoration – Take Action, Inspire Change! We honour his vision and his service by taking action to improve the health and nutrition of all and in a way that contributes to environmental sustainability.”