Market Mama’s learn about preparing safe food for schools

Woman in market

As part of hygiene promotion training Live & Learn conducted a two-day “Food Handlers Training” with 14 participants – three hygiene teachers, 10 Market Mamas and 1 Market Papa. Market Mama’s are women who make and sell food to students in schools partnering with Live & Learns’ WASH in Schools program in Daru, Western Province, PNG. All the participants came from a range of different schools/centres including Karakara Primary School, Daru Montfort Primary School, St. Johns Primary School, Callan Centre, Edward Baxter Riley Primary School and the Early Childhood Learning Centre.

The purpose of the training was to help the food vendors at the schools prepare and handle food in accordance with public food safety, to train Market Mamas as advocates to support, strengthen and expand the behaviour practices contained in the WASH in Schools program. In the beginning of the training session the participants were asked “What do you sell and why do you sell your products in the market and at the school?” Most responded that they sell food for survival, or to keep children in school at breaks and lunchtime. Two also said that they want to help the children who come to school without any food. Food quality, nutrition, safety and hygiene were not considered important.

The training activities were diverse, and included slideshows, practical exercises, handouts, group planning and presentations. Participants learned how schools are places where sickness can spread quickly if there isn’t good hygiene practices and access to soap and water for washing hands. At the end of the workshop the participants presented Health School Market Action Plans to the six Head Teachers of the respective schools, four local political representatives and the District Health Manager.

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At the conclusion of the training feedback from the participants was positive and informative.

Rosemary Recker from Karakara Primary School said “The training was fun and enjoyable because what was presented was very clear and we were given a lot of activities to help us understand the training topics.”

Another statement by Cicilia Yaela of St. Johns said “With this training, I will work with other mothers in making sure the school market is clean, safe and selling healthy foods.” Timothy Peteru, who was the only male participant, said “We need more training on this.”

At the end of the training everyone was presented with a Certificate of Participation. The Head Teacher of Edward Baxter Riley Primary School, Mr Barry Levi, and Mr Morris of Callan Centre gave the participants their certificates on behalf of Live & Learn Environmental Education. Mr Barry Levi congratulated the participants and said he is: “Looking forward to working with the representatives of Edward Baxter Primary School as their new head teacher. He said “with the help of Live & Learn and other stakeholders he wants to see the water, sanitation and hygiene program at his school achieve its goal.

The Food Handler’s training was implemented by Live & Learn through the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Project, funded through the DFAT Civil Society WASH Fund.

By Maya Gherini

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