Bringing new energy and significance on the frontline to demonstrate that good nutrition is indeed a basic component of health, the incoming Assistant Department Chairman successfully presented a case study in the recently concluded 11th Asia-Pacific Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) Meeting and Symposium which was held in Parramatta, NSW, Australia last September 25 to 27, 2018.
Mr. Huberto C. Zanoria, who is designated to co-chair in the Department of Environmental Science Major in Disaster Management of the MHAM College Inc. was among the presenters who graced this year to provide an indication of trends in nutrition education with his technical paper presentation titled, “Healthy Body And A Healthy And Alert Mind (Lusog-Busog-Talino): A Case Study in Nutrition Education”.
Hosted by RCE Greater Western Sydney and Western Sydney University with its theme, “Mainstreaming the SDGs: Education and Impact”, the 3-day event was also supported by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability and the 21st Century Curriculum Project with a field trip visits to Sydney Olympic Park (Smart and Green Cities) and the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment EucFACE Experiment and Brewongle Environment Education Centre (Climate Change and Culture) on the third day.
A global network which is divided into specific regions, namely; African and Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, RCE is now focusing to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In an interview with the incoming Assistant Chairman, he divulged that the gathering, which is held every other year, was centered on the seventeen (17) sustainable development goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.
“The regional meeting across Asia-Pacific was centralized on the millennium development goals by the UN including the end of hunger, the issue of poverty, primary health, gender equality, climate change and environmental resource management wherein these areas will fit in to our new degree program under the MHAM College Inc.”, Zanoria said.
A dedicated and true to the end social work mentor, educator and community organizer of all times, the assistant chairman-to-be, who funded his participation through his own resources also stated that his technical paper which he presented and facilitated on the second day was co-authored by MHAM CESO Director, Mr. Jarvis S. Prochina. The latter is also the current President of Philippine Association of Nutrition-Cebu Chapter.
In a 20-minute presentation, the 63-year old RCE Cebu presenter engaged his audience with a light background and Philippine situationer where 30% of the total population of 105M inhabitants marginally comprised with poverty incidence. Poverty aside, the high incidence of under-nourishment in urban areas with limited opportunities created a confronting situation in the country through which limited funding support for community extension activities of basic education institutions is indeed a challenge.
A resident in Mandaue City and a professor at Mandaue City College, Mr. Zanoria centered his case study at the Eversely Childs Sanitarium which is one of the most depressed communities in Mandaue City, Cebu. “Every other year there is a regional conference among Regional Centre of Expertise in Asia-Pacific. These are centers created by United Nations University-Tokyo and in the Philippines there are only four centers; one in Cebu, Cagayan, Bohol and Ilocos. In Cebu, it is composed of academic institutions, non-government organizations, as well as people’s organizations through institutional or personal membership. What makes our presentation unique was the actuality in coordinating with various agencies translated to barangay initiatives particularly in Mandaue where 30% among school children are identified as undernourished so we mobilized and organized the at-home mothers who were trained in food preparation and home gardening to do the marketing for nutritious food supplementary”, he added.
An initiative under the MHAM Community Extension undertaking, the technical paper has been submitted six months prior to the aforementioned event.
“This case study will benefit in our engagement towards nutrition education and how is it translated to our partner communities particularly in Barangay Calidngan, Carcar City. This is a continuing effort with the realization that local initiatives should more or less be interlinked to other initiatives in other countries for a greater impact”, he concluded.
Among the specific activities with the ‘Busog-Lusog-Talino’ case study include the weighing of children from kindergarten to grades one to three school children, identification and dialogue with parents of undernourished children and mobilizing the mothers to get kids to eat healthy foods with nutritional habits. Gearing towards a district-wide implementation, the case study is also replicated by strengthening village nutrition committees through inter-agency collaboration on local government units together with the local and regional nutrition councils.
In the intervening time, the MHAM Nutrition Research Center in Barangay Calidngan, Carcar City which was primarily intended in response to proper nutrition will lessen the malnutrition issue in upland areas with the parents’ crucial role in nutrition education.
Keeping the advocacy alive and active by supporting the community extension activities and forging more local and global linkages in relevance to health, agriculture, social welfare and environment, MHAM is set to participate and be of support in the 11th Global RCE Conference to be hosted by RCE Cebu on December 7-9, 2018 at the University of the Philippines Cebu where case presentations, plenaries, regional sessions and workshops will eventually create the long-term vision of Asia in the developing years to come. (Ana Liza Abao)