Anaicoddai Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School is a small school located in the Jaffna district of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This school enrolled in the Girl Powered Nutrition programme, seeing many girls complete their badge, and applying for funds to complete community-based activities in their area.
“Having completed our Girl Powered Nutrition badge activities, our Leader motivated us to discuss further the importance of adolescent nutrition, if nutritious foods can be accessed by all in our community, and how parents, families and community members could be educated in the importance of these topics.”
The girls’ experiences of the GPN badge activities encouraged them to think about creating something sustainable to ensure that all children in the school have access to nutritious, affordable food on a daily basis. They decided to work together as a team to establish a Girl Powered Nutrition School Canteen.
Their idea received resounding support from their Guide Leader, the School Principal and Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association (SLGGA), who agreed to award the project funds through the Community Action Fund component of GPN.
“With the funds received by SLGGA, we started renovating a small place allocated by the Principal to help bring our dream of the School Canteen to life. We received support from community members who agreed to come to the school on a daily basis and cook our menu for the children, full of locally available nutritious food.” Leader, Girl Powered Nutrition.
With this support, the Girl Powered Nutrition Canteen was born!
Girl Guides sold the food produced at affordable prices to the children during interval times and after school. The girls started to see a difference in the children at the school almost immediately.
“It was really enjoyable to see the children eating the healthy food we had produced. We shared the work amongst ourselves and our Guide Leader and our Principal helped us with the daily accounts."
"It was very beneficial for children who could not afford to buy food out of school to easily eat nutritious food at the GPN Canteen at affordable prices. Mothers also found that it was convenient for their children to have fresh and nutritious food daily which also eased their burden of sourcing food and cooking every morning.” Leader, Girl Powered Nutrition.
School closures close the canteen
Unfortunately, due to school closures through the COVID-19 crisis, the GPN Canteen suddenly had to close its doors. However, this has not dampened the girl’s spirits for their future planning.
“There are number of unfinished tasks according to our original plan that we hope to carry on with when our school reopens. We would like to paint the canteen walls with the key messages of the GPN curriculum in order to educate not only girls who gained their badge, but all children and community members of the importance of eating nutritious food and staying healthy.
Finally, we are very hopeful and with positive vibes, that we will be able to operate a fully-fledged canteen again once the pandemic becomes manageable. We also take this opportunity to thank SLGGA and WAGGGS for giving us this opportunity.” Action Fund beneficiary, Girl Powered Nutrition