Surveying Local Community Members on the Viability of Mitigating Anemia in Ica, Peru, through School Gardening
MetadataShow full item record
Anemia remains one of Peru’s most pressing public health issues, affecting a significant proportion of the country’s population. The disease’s impacts on the physiological and cognitive development of young children affected by it are substantial, and often irreversible when they attain adulthood. Mitigating the disease’s impacts will result in significant economic benefits by increasing the nation’s productivity and eventually minimizing healthcare-related costs. To support the current efforts undertaken by the Peruvian government in mitigating the incidence of anemia, the data proffered in this thesis suggest that the organic school garden, or the huerto escolar in Spanish, in Ica, Peru, is a culturally appropriate system that could supplement these approaches by making communities more cognizant of the importance of a balanced diet and a healthy environment for children’s holistic development through the more hands-on learning approaches it provides. However, there exists a lack of field data in developing countries like Peru on the scale of impacts of agroecological projects like organic school gardening on school children’s nutrition status and overall health. To answer this thesis’ research question, “What is the opinion of experts and community members in Ica, who are part of school gardening projects, on the huerto escolar’s efficacy to mitigate the prevalence of anemia in the region?”, a systematic scoping review on school gardening projects’ impact on the nutrition status of schoolchildren, and particularly the impacts on anemia, together with key-informant interviews consisting of experts and community members with experience working with huertos escolares were conducted. The quantitative evidence from the systematic scoping review performed on the impacts of school gardening on children’s dietary choices and overall health is conflicting and inconclusive. However, the key-informants involved in the huertos escolares together with the qualitative evidence examined in the systematic scoping review unanimously suggest that the implementation of school gardening programs has an important role in reducing micronutrient deficiencies as they facilitate stakeholder collaboration, community engagement, provide a more hands-on approach to education, and transdisciplinary research, which are all crucial in improving the efficacy of micronutrient deficiency mitigation measures at the community level. If eventually proven effective using mixed research methods and more robust study designs over larger sample sizes, the huertos escolares could be pivotal in addressing some of Peru’s systemic public health issues like anemia. Increased public awareness and education on the threats posed by anemia and on the ways in which the multidimensional benefits of school gardening could help mitigate the disease’s incidence are also warranted. The involvement of civil societies like non-governmental organizations in the implementation of the huertos escolares and the scientific community like public health units in impact evaluation processes is also critical to formalize this agricultural approach to promote food security and safeguard human wellbeing in rural communities of Peru given the lack of municipal support and integrated approaches to addressing this systemic public health issue. This is necessary to provide some sort of relief to schoolchildren suffering from the disease.
Cite this version of the work
Kealan Branellec (2022). Surveying Local Community Members on the Viability of Mitigating Anemia in Ica, Peru, through School Gardening. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18469