The course is good for people who are into the implementing SHN interventions, so that it sharpens your skills for one and you learn from other countries to better implement your programme in your country” - Susan Torson

In 2011 Susan Torson from Ghana’s School Feeding Programme (GSFP) attended the SHN Course. Below she described the value of what she learnt in terms of multi-sectoral collaboration, the impact on creating a nutritious school meals ration, and the value of developing Ghana’s School Health Policy.

Multi-Sectoral Collaboration

Before I attended the course, sectors had collaborated but the course provided a forum where the invited various actors focused on agriculture, Neglected Tropical Diseases and other departments were brought together to participate in the training where we could outline who was to carry out what activities.

The course also encouraged us to concentrate on strengthening district, national and regional level links, and later in 2012 when we began a nutrition intervention in the GSFP working with Dubai Cares and PCD we had the opportunity to actively integrate work between these stakeholders more.

Combatting Iron Deficient Anaemia in Ghana

During the course we learnt a great deal from country experiences, for example, when we attended the field visits Kenya talked about its school feeding programme having a standard ration and the need to carry out research and properly record figures to monitor the anaemia status of Ghanaian schoolchildren. After 2011 we developed our connections with PCD who supported us to carry out a nutrition intervention project which could be properly valuated. This project has allowed us to work towards address iron deficiency anaemia amongst school aged children where we have put into place a school meals ration which aims to meet 30% of the recommended daily allowance for children’s micronutrients and calorific intake.

Putting into place a ration has had a positive impact on statistics relating to school nutrition, health and educational attainment, although research is in its initial stages we have begun to see a rise in school attendance in Ghana’s most deprived areas.

Building Capacity

The course has greatly enhanced my capacity, giving me practical hands on experience which has allowed me to provide input into the development of policy documents on school intervention programmes.

The course emphasised the importance of a policy with proper outputs and outcomes and allowed us to highlight areas we needed to improve upon and make binding in the programme and I was encouraged to put forward ideas for policy improvement on my return from the course. I presented proposals at a dissemination platform in Accra with ministries of health, education and agriculture in December 2012 which then initiated the policy development agenda and began to be disseminated and went up the different levels of the GSFP.