Giving impetus to food security in the country, Project Greenhouse, part of Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar’s (WCM-Q) health campaign ‘Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First’, has launched ‘Khayr Qatarna’ (bounty of Qatar), a new phase of the project, inspiring schoolchildren to help Qatar become more self-sufficient in fruit and vegetable production.
The initiative was launched Sunday at Qatar National Convention Centre in the presence of HE Dr Mohamed bin Abdul Wahid al-Hammadi the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Omran Hamad al-Kuwari, acting CEO of Qatar Foundation, Dr Javaid Sheikh dean, WCM-Q, Andrew H Kershaw, president and general manager, Occidental Petroleum Qatar, Dominic Genetti, vice president and joint venture manager ExxonMobil Qatar, Dr Falah bin Naser al-Thani, undersecretary assistant, Agriculture Affairs & Fisheries Resources at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment.
Schoolchildren displaying placards of the new programme
Project Greenhouse, since its launch has provided 130 schools across Qatar with greenhouses, soil plant pots and fruit and vegetable seeds. This has allowed children to learn about the environment, sustainability, where their food comes from and most importantly the benefits of healthy eating.
Project Qatar is taking the scheme to the next level and is installing large-scale, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled greenhouses at certain schools. These greenhouses will be used to grow fruit and vegetables under the technical and specialist supervision of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment. The Ministry will also monitor the distribution of the produce which will be sold through local supermarkets under the brand name Khayr Qatarna. Students will continue to be involved with the greenhouses, learning more about food production and economics.
Some of the produces cultivated by the students displayed at the event
HE Dr al-Hammadi highlighted, in a communiqué, the pioneering role of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar in the field of health through an unprecedented and extremely well planned mobilisation of its potential at the levels of knowledge, research, academia and human resources to serve the educational community.
Dr al-Hammadi hailed the strong partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar for implementing the Your Health First campaign in the educational and social community. “Project Greenhouse represents an inspiring initiative to raise awareness of healthy lifestyles. It has transformed schools into productive units that enjoy learning both theoretical and applied knowledge, and has promoted the culture of healthy nutrition among students by producing their own and healthy food,” said Dr al-Hammadi.
Dr Sheikh said, “Non-communicable diseases are one of the greatest threats to our health; they include diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and strokes. However, they are also almost entirely preventable and by taking regular exercise and eating a balanced diet we can remain healthy and active for longer. That is what Project Greenhouse has been teaching our children; the importance of a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in processed food.”
The launch was also attended by more than 1,500 children who have been directly involved with Project Greenhouse, along with senior representatives of Sahtak Awalan’s strategic partners; the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar Foundation, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Environment and Municipality, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Occidental Petroleum and ExxonMobil.
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