By Vishia Mae Dominic J. Tolcidas
Regional Applied Communications
FITS OPA Negros Occidental
To enhance their knowledge, skills and attitudes as they play roles in many activities in their respective communities, some 18 barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) from Victorias City, Hinobaan, Cauayan, Candoni, Calatrava, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, and Toboso recently completed a five-day Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) Basic Course led by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Negros Occidental.
The Nutrition Management Division of OPA Negros discussed the legal mandate and rationale of the BNS Project; selection, recruitment and benefits; their roles and functions; and their core values; while Ma. Teena Pineda-Acebedo, provincial nutrition program coordinator, underscored the importance of commitment, advocacy and coordination in BNS work.
The BNS were taught basic concepts in food and nutrition and malnutrition; and skills in communication, presentation, documentation, report writing and record keeping. The training also covered time management, organizing, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
BNS IN ACTION
(Clockwise from left) Barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) weigh preschool children in Barangay 36, Bacolod City; trainers from OPA Nutrition Management Division and BNS with health and nutrition councilor Mark Lester Seruelo of Barangay 36; BNS interview mothers of preschoolers in Barangay 36, Bacolod City; and BNS with trainers during the training’s closing rites.
During a hands-on training in Barangay 36, Bacolod City supported by Barangay Council President Jerry Cuachon, the scholars were exposed to a number of practical activities to put their learning to test. In Operation Timbang, they were taught to weigh babies and pre-school children below 70 months old. They were trained to facilitate actual weighing and follow-up weighing of below normal, very low, and below normal low preschoolers. Aside from the interview skills needed for family profiling, the BNS were also taught to facilitate nutrition education of pregnant and lactating mothers and parents or caregivers of underweight children.
Being part of the 167 barangay nutrition scholars who are under a one-year contract with the Negros Occidental Provincial Government, the BNS receive 1,000 pesos monthly allowance and other incentives from their respective local government units.