Spreading awareness about food waste
Did you know that Malaysians waste up to 8 million kilograms of food per day which is enough to feed almost 6 million people? That means that with this wasted food we could feed the combined population of Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei population for one day!
This was one of the astronomic figures about food waste in Malaysia that we wanted 260 students of three different secondary schools to be aware of as part of AIESEC in Unimas’ ‘Why Waste Food?’ Project.
It was firstly important for us to show the students in which context and quantity food waste takes place in Malaysia, that food waste was a growing problem and that everyone had to contribute in order to stop it.
The second part of the workshop was to make students aware about everything hidden behind food production in terms of the amount of resources, time and work put into it through a quiz about beef production.
The students were asked how long a cow had to grow before it could be eaten, how much boneless meat could be obtained from one cow and how much water was needed for the production of one cow including feed and roughage.
(Try to estimate the figures for these three questions and find the answers at the end of this article!)
We also showed a video of our experience at a local farm (see our past article in The Borneo Post SEEDS http://seeds.theborneopost.com/2015/07/26/experiencing-farm-life-in-kampung-tanjung-parang/) to show the work invested in food production by farmers.
The third part of the workshop focused on finding solutions to prevent food waste that could be easily implemented at home.
First we asked the groups of students to write down a list of 10 solutions.
It was quite challenging for them and they had to be very creative, especially for the last few solutions.
Some of the solutions they presented included: don’t be greedy, only take food you can finish, don’t spoil your dinner by snacking on junk food during the afternoon and one of the funniest, “Find a boyfriend with big appetite, who can finish your food”.
We also prepared some simple solutions, which we presented in a video featuring the team members of the project as actors.
The last part of the workshop was conducted by Edmund MacMiller from NREB (Natural Resources and Environment Board). He explained to the students how NREB worked, how waste was managed in Sarawak and how to create compost at home with very simple materials.
It was quite challenging for us to hold workshops in front of so many people, especially at our first workshop, where we had to present in front of 150 students who spoke little English. However, it was a pleasure to see the fun the students had during our activities and how attentive they were when we showed our videos.
There are several reasons not to waste food, you save resources and money, you show respect for the farmer’s work, you save the lives of animals which will not be killed for nothing and most importantly you prevent world hunger.
For all these reasons we really hope that our workshop made an impact on the students’ behaviour about food waste and that they will implement some of the solutions, they designed to avoid food waste, into their everyday lives.
Answers to the quiz:
1) It takes 3 years for a cow to grow before it can be eaten
2) We can eat approximately 200kg of boneless meat from a cow
3) The production of one cow needs more than 3 million litres of water!
AIESEC is the world’s largest youth-run organisation, present in 124 countries worldwide. Focused on providing a platform for youth leadership development, AIESEC offers young people the opportunity to participate in international internships, experience leadership and participate in a global learning environment. AIESEC is run by young people for young people, enabling a strong experience to all its stakeholders.
AIESEC has 64 years of experience in developing high-potential youth into globally minded responsible leaders.