If there is one thing parents have a challenge with, it is getting their kids to eat green leafy vegetables. Kids find they don’t taste well, whether cooked with meat, condiments or boiled. A National Nutrition Survey in 2008 showed that 26 out of 100 preschool children in the Philippines are malnourished. The survey also shows that 26% are underweight with 28% are under height from age 0-5 years old. Meanwhile 25% are underweight and 33% are under height from age 6-10 years old.
Alarmed by the increasing malnourishment in the country, Sen. Edgardo Angara last year launched the “Oh My Gulay” campaign, an advocacy program to create awareness about the nutritional values of common vegetables as well as to encourage parents to teach their children not only to eat vegetables but also engage them in vegetable planting.
“Sen. Angara wanted a vegetable program and it was really wanting to do something,” says Josie Paule, one of the heads of the program.
Together with government agencies such as the Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Health and private companies, the program has since been launched in various schools in the provinces. Among the provinces so far reached by the program are Bulacan and Negros Occidental, which according to the data provided by the Department of Education has one of the highest children malnourished rates.
The project began with students being given vegetable seedlings to plant in schools. Paule said that they are encouraging parents especially the mothers to help their children as not only will it be source of food but also extra income.
“The harvest is theirs. It can be brought home and then plant more,” says Paule.
To further increase the awareness of the program, the people behind “Oh My Gulay” tapped notable celebrities from the Viva rosters of artists headed by pop princess Sarah Geronimo, actress Cristine Reyes and singer Mark Bautista who endorsed specific vegetables.
Paule said that the artists did the project for free, believing that vegetables was one way of helping alleviate the malnourishment in the country.
With the recent commercial of the “Oh My Gulay” campaign aired, feedback has been very good. Their main target now is to get more private sectors into the project. They are also eying more schools into the program.
While the program has yet to reach its peak, Paule says they are optimistic the program will go a long way. Asked how people can help, Paule says it all takes simple pots, seedlings and gardening tools to start with. That way not only is you planting food but also helping in contributing to the environment.
For more information about Oh My Gulay you may contact-FRANCINE ANNE P. SAYOC 0917 504 3265