DepEd-Rizal conducts training on school edible landscaping

THE Department of Education (DepEd) Division Office in Rizal together with educators and officers from 11 schools have completed the Training on School Edible Landscaping for Entrepreneurship (SEL4E) held online and onsite in Los Baños, Laguna and Pililla, Rizal from August 7 to 11, 2023.

The SEL4E training led by the Training for Development Unit under the Education and Collective Learning Department of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) aimed to build the capacities of the 36 participants as channels of knowledge and values formation in schools and their communities.

A multistakeholder project, the week-long training was the first component of the SEL4E Project, which intends to improve the nutrition and health of children and their families in Rizal province through multistakeholder participation.

Expressing support for this project in Rizal, Capt. Krishna Mundath, director of SynergyGroup Operations Inc. (SGOI) Philippines, said it will help schools and the local community within the scope of the SEL4E program.

"This project is deeply aligned with Synergy Marine Group's aspiration toward one of its goals—zero hunger," Mundath said.

According to SEARCA director Glenn Gregorio, the SEL4E project is being carried out by SEARCA and SGOI in collaboration with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), DepEd-Rizal, and the provincial government of Rizal.

Gregorio said the project's next component is home gardening, which includes scoping, capacity building, and strengthening of SEL4E protocols to sustain and scale up the project.

Dr. Nur Azura Adam, SEARCA deputy director for programs, also explained that the SEL4E is an example of the center's model of bridging the academe-industry-government sectors to help transform the agriculture sector.

The online sessions covered the concepts and intersections of school gardens in nutrition, education and entrepreneurship.

Carmen Nyhria Rogel, SEARCA's technical coordinator, who shared initiatives on and situation analysis of school gardens, said the session looked into the challenges and solutions of the participating schools in establishing and managing school gardens.

Also during the discussion, Dr. Leila Africa of the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, presented the nutrition status among school children and adolescents in the Philippines and an analysis of the nutritional assessment tools and methods used for school-based feeding programs.

Glenda Aruejo of DepEd Laguna talked about the concepts and applications essential for integrating school gardens into education and entrepreneurship and presented examples of how to integrate school gardening into subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Meanwhile, UP Los Baños (UPLB) assistant professor Rei Chino Pua tackled livelihood and entrepreneurship, including a personal entrepreneurship competency exercise that the participants can adopt for their students.

A participant and head teacher from Tanay-Sampaloc Integrated National High School, Alegria Belga said the training is for nurturing the students they are handling and opens the minds of the teachers who think it is hard to earn money.

"If we are going to look after our surroundings, we will always find ways to get food," she said.

Soledad Villanueva of DepEd Laguna also shared her experiences on partnership-building and scaling up of SEL4E using cases from SEARCA's School-plus-Home Gardens Project or S+HGP launched in Laguna in 2016.