Improving health outcomes in regional communities

Around 40 children and 12 mothers took part in a nutrition and cooking program in the beautiful rural town of Armidale NSW. The Mercy Foundation’s small grants program funded a project run by Gunawirra to help improve health outcomes and address disadvantage experienced by families in rural communities. This project helped address the lack of knowledge about nutrition and gave mums experience and confidence to cook different types of meals at home.

The mothers and their children attended weekly cooking classes to practise cooking healthy, simple, affordable meals that were also appealing to children. In the classroom, a puppet show taught children from preschool and junior primary about the importance of nutrition while their mums practiced cooking in the kitchen. On a number of occasions mother and child enjoyed cooking meals together.

Other tips included how to grow vegetables at home and learning about what key ingredients to buy while shopping. Making cooking imaginative and fun, and creating something that mums and their children could be proud of, were other key objectives of this program.

The program was embraced by the teachers at the school that helped drive its success. There are now plans to replicate the program in other schools in Armidale.