Nutritional practices and needs of resource-constrained communities as seen through the eyes of primary school teachers

  • Ronel Ferreira
  • William J. Fraser
  • Karien Botha
  • Elzaan Cook
  • Peet J. du Toit
  • Gerda Gericke

Abstract

In this article we discuss the perceptions teachers (n = 45) have regarding the nutritional practices of a sample of primary school learners and their families in a resource-constrained community. We specifically focus on the needs, practices and expectations related to food consumption, which implies food production, food choice and food preparation. Our study forms the first part of a more comprehensive institutional research project. For the purpose of our study we utilised participatory reflection and action-based workshops with the participants in order to generate data, and employed interpretivism to interpret the findings. This study emphasises the need of resource-constrained and unemployed community members, who are often forced to purchase food as a reduced cost of which the quality is not optimal. An attenuated breakfast, lunch or dinner where choices are often limited to black tea, porridge and one or two slices of stale bread, confirms the manifestations of poverty in resource-constrained communities. Meals are often limited to large quantities of carbohydrates, few vegetables, canned fish, porridge with inkomazi and marog. Chicken feet and tripe may supplement the menu. Teachers emphasise the fact that community members typically rely on donations from employers, churches and grocery stores in order to supplement their food budget. Teachers furthermore focus on the needs of community members to be educated. In their view community members need to be informed in respect of food production, vegetable gardens, techniques of determining the quality of soil, irrigation and the application of sustainable crop rotation. The article concludes with achievable and informative ideas for educating rural communities. Based on these research findings an intervention programme is currently being developed, with the purpose of implementing the intervention in the various participating schools in support of healthy nutrition-related behaviour and well-being.

Author Biography

Ronel Ferreira
DepartementshoofOpvoedkundige Sielkunde
Published
2013-12-09
Section
Original Research: Food