Agboy Elementary School in Leon, Iloilo was named the Grand Winner of the 2015 Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) Excellence Awards topping entries from across the country. The school was honored for exceeding the BLT standards for food safety and quality, and its innovative approaches to working with the community to sustain the program.
Ms. Yolanda Peniero, the school Principal believes their collaboration with stakeholders was instrumental to their success. Parents, teachers, students, and the broader community were mobilized to contribute their skills and resources. They also launched the Piso Mo, Igma Ko (Your Peso, My Lunch) coin banks which were placed throughout the municipality.
For Feeding Coordinator Gemma Espana, transparency and accountability enabled them to earn the trust of their partners. “Our stakeholders – the LGU, barangay captain and barangay council, give monthly contributions. I list down whatever they give, and post it on the school board for transparency”, reported Ms. Espana.
Ms. Peniero noted the importance of the award they have received. “This award serves as our motivation in continuing the best practices that we have started. Let’s continue to serve our children and give our best in championing their health and education,” Paniero said.
Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) recognized schools that showed exemplary performance in implementing the Foundation’s Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) School Feeding Program through the BLT Excellence Awards. The BLT Program aims to keep undernourished pupils in public schools by providing lunch daily. The awards were handed out to winning schools on Monday, May 4, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City during the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.
Tony Tan Caktiong, Chairman of JGF and Jollibee Foods Corporation, noted the successful efforts of these schools and other partners. “The BLT Program has helped more than 142,000 undernourished school children from 1,500 schools in 200 towns and cities from across the country since 2007,” said Mr.Tan Caktiong.
JGF, led by its President, Grace Tan Caktiong, also paid tribute to its program partners from both the public and private sectors as well as members of the Jollibee Foods Corporation family. These partners have been sharing in JGF’s mission of empowering underprivileged Filipinos to live a life defined by dignity, purpose and active participation in nation-building. “Tonight is not just about JGF. We are actually honoring ten years of shared vision for our communities and collaboration with our partners,” Ms. Tan Caktiong said.
Aside from BLT, JGF’s other core programs are the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), which assist smallholder farmers so they can directly supply institutional markets like JFC, which has assisted 1,000 farmers since 2008. and the Jollibee Group FoodAID Program that provides relief assistance and rehabilitation to communities affected by calamities.
The first successful farmer group, Kalasag Farmers Producers Cooperative from San Jose, Nueva Ecija was also recognized during the event.
The Municipality of Pinabacdao is located in the Southwestern part of the Province of Samar. It is accessible from all points of the province and region: 54 kms. North of Tacloban City – the Regional Capital of Eastern Visayas and 52 kms. South of Catbalogan City – the provincial capital of Samar Province. The municipality is composed of 24 barangays: 11 of which are located along the Maharlika Highway, four in the coastal and nine in the hinterlands.
Upland and lowland rice, corn and root crops are the major annual crops produced by farmers of Pinabacdao. Coconuts are also intercropped with bananas as permanent crops and recently, farmers are starting to plant ginger too. These crops are both for home consumption and local market. In spite of the variety of crops being produced, many pupils still suffer from malnutrition because Samar Province is a pathway of storms. With this, Zuellig Family Foundation applied to Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) for the Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) School Feeding Program in Pinabacdao.
Since BLT begun, we experienced both delight and trials like, perhaps, other municipalities. But for the past four years, the feeding program continues for the benefit of the pupils and because of our supportive Local Chief Executive, Hon. Mario L. Quijano, M.D.
A series of typhoon came, there was Yolanda, Ruby, and Seniang which destroyed our houses and sources of income leaving our community devastated. This also affected some of our BLT pupils who cannot go to school due to lack of school supplies, uniforms and other basic necessities. But this experience gave us hope, courage and strength to face all trials. We see ourselves now as survivors and stronger than before.
Encouraging parent involvement was a challenge too. Some BLT parents are not in favor of it because, for them, meal preparation is very stressful. But the BLT Point Person Ms. Imelda Fabilane, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Ms. Zenaida Estrada and Municipal Nutrition Action Officer Designate Ms. Agueda Cabornay sought ways and made the parents realize how glad and lucky we are to be chosen as one of the recipients of the JGF’s BLT School Feeding Program and it cannot be implemented if parents will not participate. Likewise, Municipal Health Officer Dr. Cornelio A. Solis and Sanitary Inspector Designate Ms. Ethel Nacario, helped by monitoring/facilitating deworming and medical check-up for the pupils. Also, the LGU, as the Local Implementing Partner, ensures that the program is well implemented in all six BLT school namely Lale Elementary School, Nabong Elementary School, Madalunot Elementary School, Laygayon Elementary, Pahug Elementary School and Parasanon Elementary School. Other efforts of the LGU are: distribution of coin bank to different institutions, conduct of parents’ seminars/orientation and provision of some kitchen utensils/supplies for the feeding center.
BLT in our Municipality gives hope to our pupils and a chance to be more creative and resourceful to its implementers/stakeholders. We are fueled by our vision for the BLT pupils: to have a healthy mind and body for a brighter future, accompanied by our mission: to implement the program well, no matter how hard it takes.
Gulayan sa Puluy-anan
University of St. La Salle – Bacolod
“Malnutrition is one of the key problems that we’re facing now. BLT Pupils often go to school hungry. Being unable to eat breakfast and dinner at home, they would just rely on the free lunch feeding at school. We want to stop it by educating our BLT parents on the importance of having a vegetable garden in their own backyards. In this way, I believe, we can lessen the impact of Malnutrition” said Elvie Aligabo, BLT feeding coordinator of Lamesa Elementary School.
Having a garden in our own backyards is a good way to lessen the impact of malnutrition and one school here in Negros Occidental does just that. The school was able to encourage BLT parents to put up their own vegetable garden at home or what they call the Gulayansa Puluy-anan.
The Gulayan sa Puluy-anan is a project of the BLT team of La Mesa Elementary School in DepEd Division of San Carlos City which is headed by its school principal, Ms. Jovita Guantero. The main objective of this project is to provide BLT families a source of organic and nutritious vegetables and fruits which they can sell and even use to feed their children at home.
Through this program, the BLT families can earn money by selling their extra produce to the school or even to the market. This way, we can also assure that the food that we serve is nutritious and free from chemicals.
Gulayan sa Puluy-anan is also a big help in sustaining parent involvement and participation.
The BLT team provides the seeds from San Carlos City Department of Agriculture. The first program evaluation was conducted last November 26, 2014 by the BLT team. They target to conduct the final evaluation in March. Winning or commendable BLT parent/s will receive grocery items and certification from the school.
Aside from the Gulayan sa Puluy-anan, some of the best practices of the school are the following—productive BLT/School garden, accurate reporting, updated BLT corner and transparency board, pro-active BLT team and cooperative BLT parents.
La Mesa Elementary School is one of the 122 recipient schools of the Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) school feeding program facilitated by Institute for Negros Development of University of St. La Salle. The feeding program is on its way to end the 120-day feeding cycle.
With Mercedes Central School (MCS) of Zamboanga City now on its second year in BLT, it faces the same problem which is perennial to almost all feeding programs, be it local or national – declining parents’ participation.
From the local term “madre” which means mother, the MCS BLT implementers together with its local implementing partner, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, organized the mothers thru the Madrepreneur Project to engage in a small scale food-based enterprise which is built on their current skills and capacities. It aims to address two things – sustaining parents’ participation in the program and capacitating women to help in the economic condition of their families.
The continuous support and active involvement of the parents has been critical in the overall success of the program. But as the implementation progresses towards the end of school year, it has been noticed that fewer mothers are performing their daily roles and responsibilities in the program. To address this concern, the MCS BLT implementers organized the Madrepreneur to motivate them to come and help in the daily feeding tasks.
After the hustle and bustle of preparing for the lunch of the BLT kids, the parents would again gather to start with the production of the gulucinas or native delicacies for snacks. With the small start-up capital contributed by each member, the parents would prepare local delicacies such as saging rebusao, madoya, ginataan mais, bayo-bayo and the like. These products are being sold at the school canteen where pupils and teachers alike are their primary customers. Apart from the canteen, the Madrepreneur group also produces gulucinas for school-based occasions like meetings, gatherings and the like, and would also take orders from teachers for their personal occasions. Daily income is accounted at the end of the day but they would divide their profit at the end of the week base on attendance per production.
The profit from the gulucinas, allows women to augment family income thus improves their involvement and motivates parents to come daily in BLT. They have also been generously allotting small percentages for the BLT fund for every production they have. One mother said, “Maliit lang yung percentage na naibibigay naming sa pondo pero galling naman sa puso ‘yon”. The fact that they are able to financially contribute to the program and also at home, enhances sense of ownership of the program and sense of fulfillment for the mothers. Furthermore, the Madrepreneur project provides venue for mothers to bond and form relationships with one another. They share laughter, they exchange skills and technologies, and they encourage each other to be more participative and supportive of the program.
Since they are engaged in a food-based entrepreneur, safety and qualitymust be ensured. Henceparents underwent a training on food safety which is made possible by the Health and Nutrition department of DepEd and was further supplemented by the training on food service and safety, and the awarding of a Health Certificate for each member of the group by the City Health Office. To ensure transparency and equality, parents hold a meeting weekly to discuss finances and were given a training on basic book keeping by the MCS BLT implementers.