School campaign: Food safety workshop was held at Chilmary

Creating school awareness program for safe food organized by UBINIG on behalf of Bangladesh Food Safety Network (BFSN) under the patronization of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The event was organized at Upazila Parishod Auditorium, Chilmari upazila, Kurigram district on 26 June, 2014. The aim of the workshop was to create and increase public awareness on food safety issues at respective stakeholders. The event was represented by 36 participants including Chilmary Upazila administration, Department of upazila education and representatives from 11 government primary school teacher

Mr. Ahsan Habib, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Chilmary inaugurated the school program creating awareness for safe food as the chief guest. Mr. Hannan Mandal. Assistant upazila education officer, Chilmary was the special guest. The teachers of 11 primary schools participated in the orientation workshop for creating awareness of safe food. Jahangir Alam Jony from UBINIG moderated the workshop and Dr. M. A. Sobhan, consultant, UBINIG chaired the workshop.

Mr. Ahsan Habib, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Chilmary said, I am very happy to be with you in this important event of food safety. This is very important because avoiding foods that are contaminated can help preventing illness, especially the children. Children can take simple steps to reduce the risk of food borne illness in their homes, on their way to school, food vendors near the school and other places. In fact, food safety is a matter that affects anyone who takes food. Food safety education is more essential today than ever before. This is because there are risks of contamination and adulteration at different stages of food production to consumption food safety training at primary school level will help building a knowledge base on safe food from early life.

I am happy to mention that I have been acquainted with the ecological agriculture (Nayakrishi) of UBINIG before long and I had correctly answered that UBINIG stood for ‘Unnayan Bikalper Nitiniddaroni Gobehana’ to the viva board of the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS)examination. I know that Nayakrishi is an approach of safe food production. I wish the school program creating awareness for safe food will be successfully implemented for sharing the knowledge of food safety. I would like to give my special thanks to UBINIG taking the program on safe food school campaign in Chilmary Upazila. The Chilmary Upazila administration will be always with this initiative. I wish for its success and enrichment of implementation.

Mr. Hannan Mondal, assistant education officer, Chilmary said, food safety is a major concern of all peoples, especially those of school going children. Childhood is period of learning and habit formation. The students will get opportunity to get the primary concept of food safety. The teachers receiving the booklets will please distribute those among the students in the respective schools. They will hold interactive discussions on the issues of food safety for clear understanding and practicing good hygienic practices.

BSFN Meeting Chilmari

Ms. Sharmin Akther, headmistress, Chilmary government primary school said, it is very important for all of us to know about the safe food. It is needed for our safety and survival. The reading materials as provided by FAO / UBINIG for children will be very useful for knowing about food safety and creating awareness on safe food. We teachers are happy for getting such kind of safe food reading materials for educating school students.

BSFN Meeting Chilmari

Jahangir Alam Jony from UBINIG and BFSN said, we are distributing the leaflets containing lessons on different aspects of food safety. The leaflets are distributed among the teachers of 11 schools for distributing among the students and also for posting in the school campaigns. The school program is the initiation of the food safety program nd we hope to follow the program through different events in future. We are sincerely grateful to you all for your participation. We are specially thankful to Mr. Ahsan Habib, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Chilmary for his kind participation and cooperation for implementing the school program creating awareness for safe food at Chilmari.

In the open discussion the participants contributed from their perspectives for enriching the school based food safety campaign for increasing awareness at school and community level. The key suggestion from the open discussion included: a) these reading materials will be given among the students as part of their home work b) There will be discussion session organized on food safety for mothers of the students as regular basis, c) Students will practice safe food issues those they have learnt from the circulated reading materials d) There will be competition on food safety issues among the students for raising food safety issues.

BSFN Meeting Chilmari

In the end of the workshop the food safety reading materials were circulated among the respective teachers.

Dr. M. A. Sohban the chairperson of this workshop said, schools are the most important institutions laying foundations for human development including health promotion. Schools provide the most powerful influence on the lives of the children. Schools thus play a key role in health education of students, their families and communities. Involvement of the teachers and students would establish expected outcomes in food safety activities.

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