• Creating Faith-based Spaces for Healthy Food Patterns

Left to right: Rev. Newton Dixon (General Secretary, Jamaica Council of Churches), Prof. T. Alafia Samuels (Project Investigator, FaN project), Most Reverend Kenneth Richards (President, Jamaica Council of Churches)

Creating faith-based spaces for healthy food patterns, in 2021, the FaN project and the Jamaica Council of Churches entered into an agreement to develop a relationship to undertake activities in research, capacity building, training, and public health advocacy. Their shared goal was to foster an environment that normalizes and supports nutrition and food security among members of and communities around faith-based organisations, to improve their dietary patterns. The collaboration has resulted in a virtual programme of three components:

1. Sermons/Bible Studies

Members of the JCC have co-designed 10 sermons and 10 accompanying Bible studies that focus on food and nutrition security. These are supplemented by PowerPoint versions of the materials, fact sheets and orientation videos to also enhance their uptake and delivery.

These materials can be accessed at the links below:

Introductory Material for toolkit

Sermons and Bible Studies

1. My Body is God’s Temple

2. Foods are Gifts from God

3. Satisfying Hunger

4. Too Much A One Thing Good Fi Nothing, Part 1

5. Too Much A One Thing Good Fi Nothing, Part 2

6. Bread of Life

7. God Provides Food in Abundance, Part 1

8. God Provides Food in Abundance, Part 2

9. Taking Care of God’s Temple

10. Giving Thanks for God’s Bounty

2. Public Health Profession Advocates

A small group of public health professionals (PHPs) have worked with the project, participating in Zoom sessions for several months in preparation of hosting health activities within their churches in Jamaica. Health activities included educational booths, mini-fairs, dedicated water/fruit/vegetable day, challenges, zoom presentations, care packages for nutritionally vulnerable congregants, and healthy food cook-ups. Invested in their activities, plans are for the PHPs to continue to advocate within their churches for improved nutrition by expanding their activities over time.

Two sample PowerPoints used in some of the health activities can be accessed below:

3. Sources of Support Directory

A formal list of social assistance programmes available to vulnerable adults in Jamaica was created. These services are grouped by five areas: (1) Advocacy, Training and Education Services, (2) Food Security Services, (3) Housing Services, (4) Physical and Mental Disability Services and (5) Senior Citizens and Shut-Ins Services. The Directory lists details of each service, such as services offered, eligibility criteria, instructions on how to apply and contact information.

The Directory can be accessed below: