Integration of Nutrition into the Training Curricula of the Matourkou Agricultural Centre in Burkina Faso

Sodjinou, Roger and Thiamobiga, Jacques and Tapsoba, Sylvestre and Cisse, Djibril and Bosu, William and Fanou, Nadia and Garnier, Denis and Ndiaye, Biram and Zagre, Noel and Schwartz, Helene and Tchibindat, Felicite and Ag Bendech, Mohamed (2016) Integration of Nutrition into the Training Curricula of the Matourkou Agricultural Centre in Burkina Faso. Food and Nutrition Report, 1 (3). pp. 8-16. ISSN 2059-8564

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Background: There is heightened interest in strengthening the linkages between agriculture and nutrition so that agriculture education systems become more nutrition-sensitive. This study was conducted to document the process of integrating nutrition into the training curricula of the Matourkou Agriculture Training Centre (CAP/Matourkou) in Burkina Faso. It also aimed to identify the challenges as well as the opportunities related to this mainstreaming process. Methods: Data were collected between August and October 2015. The nutrition content of the curricula was evaluated against the following criteria: i) Scope of the nutrition topics covered; ii) Method of integration of nutrition in the revised curricula; and iii) Method of delivery of nutrition instruction. A written test was conducted to assess the extent to which the process had contributed to improving students’ knowledge in nutrition. Only students in the agricultural engineering program took the test. Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were also conducted to evaluate the perceptions of key stakeholders about the process. The discussions were guided by the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analytical framework. Results: An iterative and multi-stakeholder process was used by CAP/Matourkou to integrate nutrition into its existing curricula. Nutrition mainstreaming occurred at two levels: i) Vertical integration through which stand-alone nutrition courses were added to the curriculum for agricultural engineers, higher level technicians and agricultural agents; and ii) Longitudinal integration where nutrition was embedded into relevant agriculture-specific subjects (13 subjects in the curriculum for agricultural engineers, 3 for higher level technicians, and 2 for agricultural agents). This resulted in a short-term improvement in students’ knowledge in nutrition. Students who received nutrition instruction under the revised curricula scored significantly higher than those that did not (mean score: 53.2±10.0 vs. 45.7±10.8, P<0.01). However, the vast majority of them (77.1%) scored around the average or below (<60%) for the test, indicating the need for increased training and exposure to nutrition. The most frequently reported strengths were the use of a structured approach and ownership of the process by CAP/ Matourkou. Lack of internal communication about the process, insufficient training of faculty members in nutrition, and lack of nutrition courses emphasizing practical skills emerged as the major weaknesses. Conclusions: Our data indicate that nutrition was effectively mainstreamed into the training curricula of CAP/Matourkou in Burkina Faso. However, efforts should be made to expand students’ knowledge in nutrition. It is important to expose them to nutrition courses that emphasize practical skills. Opportunities should also be created for faculty members to upgrade their capacity to teach nutrition-sensitive courses. Key technical partners, such as UNICEF, FAO and other international organizations, should continue to provide a multi-level support to the process. This will ensure the sustainability of the approach and make the training programs offered by CAP/Matourkou more nutrition-sensitive.

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Journal Article
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Food and Nutrition Report
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Deposited On:
28 Feb 2019 09:00
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:30