The Food For Knowledge (FFK) project is a comprehensive nutrition and education initiative which provides a daily meal in 270 schools, and other related activities that deliver a host of educational benefits to strengthen and improve learning outcomes such as: water and sanitation actions; after-school activities; farmer clubs; construction; and a new component called “literacia” related with reading and writing reinforcement actions.

Credit: Juliana Cabrera Riaño

As a Development Instructor, I help in the different components and develop my own projects based on the signals that the communities offer me or observed deficiencies. I am around to help with everything the leaders or FFK workers asked me, be part of meetings, planning some activities, helping with reports and so on. I had the opportunity to choose the project or component I want to work in so I decided to work in after-school clubs and water and sanitation components.

I divided my service period in 2 parts. During the first part from November to February, I worked with the after-school clubs for kids and installed playgrounds in 8 schools in the 4 districts (Manhica, Magude, Moamba and Matutuine). After seeing the impact on the kids, I decided to continue working with the construction and installing of playgrounds. I started to think about my new project for the coming months and the way to get the materials, be productive and make a positive impact in the community. I spoke with person in charge of the clubs and the district leader and together we chose 10 schools in Magude, Matutuine and Manhica to develop my project.

I started making a project budget. Next, I made several online campaigns and designed posters with pictures and information in Spanish so the people in my country could see it and donate money to build 10 sets with 4 swings (3 types) and 6 color tires. I talked with the community and FFK leaders to ask them for their help to collect tires and materials. My idea had a great impact on the communities and after 5 days of starting the project, I had already managed to collect 80 tires along with some boards and tools.

Credit: Juliana Cabrera Riaño

I developed the campaign during December and by the middle of January, I collected $733.33 USD. Every time I got a donation, I bought materials for the sets and traveled to Maputo several times to get the best price to make the most out of the donations. It took me around 1 month and half to finish everything; buying materials, cutting, sanding, painting, measuring, cleaning and so on. I took advantage of every second because my goal from the beginning was get the playgrounds ready so when the kids return from vacations they will be able to enjoy it and did not have excuse to avoid going to school.

Several kids from the village helped me to collect tires. Every day they asked me about when my project will be ready. They told me that they did not have this kind of stuff in their schools so they just play with plain tires and showed me the games they play in their free time.

Credit: Juliana Cabrera Riaño

I painted elements of the playground with the colors of the flag of my country, Colombia, in gratitude to the people who donated the money to buy the materials. I put all my heart in everything I have done because I believe that things made with love are better. I am ready for the last 3 months of my service period and all the new proposals I will create to help to improve the sanitation in the schools.

Written by: Juliana Cabrera Riaño – Development Instructor