The Ministry of Health (MS) is working with the Ministry of Education (ME) to provide training to the implementers of the of school feeding program in Timor-Leste.

MS is working with the ME to provide training to the implementers of the of school feeding program in Timor-Leste.

The head of Surveillance and Environment Department, of the Ministry of Health, Doctor Tomasia de Sousa said they have provided training to the providers of more than 3.000 schools across the entire territory but that most
schools have not yet had the training.
She said the training allows families to know how to prepare healthy and safe food for children.
“Children are very vulnerable and they are affected microbes, and this is dangerous because they have low immunity making it easier for them to get sick," she said in her office, in Kaikoli, Dili.
She added that they also provide training to the schools' directors and the Education Directors of the municipalities to increase their knowledge of hygiene and healthy food so they can also share with implementers who had
not yet attended the training.
Meanwhiel, a provider of the school feeding program at Rumbia Filial School, Maria de Jesus said it was difficult for them to implement what they learnt through the the training due to the exisiting conditions in schools including
with access to clean water and facilities available such as too small kitchens.
However, she said the food for students was clean and healthy because the menu of the school feeding program includes mostly local products such as buffalo meat and fresh vegetables.
"We spend $190 each day to buy vegetables and rice because we have not received rice from the Ministry [of Education]," she said.
Meanwhile, she said they cooked three times a day (in the morning, at noon and in the afternoon).
She added that based on the menu provided by the Ministry of Education to the schools, from Monday to Friday, students eat rice and vegetables with some meat, noodles, kolak and fruit-ice.
"But everything depends on the budget. If the goods are cheap then meals are good but if not we cannot afford to buy them,” she said.
Program Manager of the Timor-Leste coalition for education (TLCE), Matias dos Santos said the school feeding program continues to be a challenge because it does not reflect the objectives of the program, that is, to improve
children’s nutrition.
"We recommend that the school feeding program look at the quality of the food provided and not just at how many people can be fed,” he said.
He also expressed concerns with the condition of kitchens in the schools to prepare hygienic and a healthy food for the children.