Due to the nature of effective school food and nutrition education (SFNE) and the recent emphasis on it, FAO has developed a tool to assist member countries assess capacities, strengths, and gaps for developing and implementing successful SFNE programs at national and/or subnational level.
To describe the process used for applying FAO's SFNE Capacity Assessment Tool in El Salvador.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
A cross-sectional qualitative study conducted through the following 5 phases: 1) setting up an FAO's facilitation team; 2) a SFNE stakeholder mapping (n = 15, from government/NGOs staff to teachers and families); 3) background research of national secondary data, policies, reports, and materials relevant to SFNE; 4) interviews with key actors (n = 7) and facilitation of multi-stakeholder consultative workshops (n = 5); and 5) report and follow-up.
The tool comprises a series of guiding questions to assess individual SFNE capacities, as well as organizational capacity and the policy environment. Key variables of interest comprised policy frameworks, political commitment, program-related capacities, school system, individual training schemes, among others. Descriptive content analysis was carried out to synthesize the results from each dimension.
Main capacity gaps identified were: weak institutional coherence, exclusion of SFNE in the formal school curriculum, lack of opportunities to engage all school-level stakeholders in learning activities, and insufficient educational materials for all schools. Key strengths focused on the inclusion of SFNE into key policies, and the availability of SFNE training schemes for front-line educators. Prioritized proposed solutions centered around advocacy for the allocation of SFNE-specific government budget, leveraging on existing multisector platforms to enhance institutional coherence, and strengthening of training of curriculum developers.
The application of the tool evidenced key SFNE capacity gaps that needed to be addressed at national level, and provided a clear and nationally-endorsed roadmap to enhance the impact of SFNE in El Salvador.