SEAMEO RECFON visited Pontianak City and Sambas District on 13-17 November 2023 to strengthen of the flagship programs, particularly for the Nutrition Goes to School (NGTS) and Early Childhood Care, Nutrition, and Education (ECCNE) Program, as well as strengthening the partnership with Pontianak Health Polytechnic (Polkespon) as the academic partner.

On November 13, 2023, Dr. Jesus C. Fernandez, the Deputy Director for Program SEAMEO RECFON and staff assisted by NGTS team member of Polkespon met the Head of Provincial Education and Culture Office of West Kalimantan, Mrs. Rista Hastarita, S.Sos, M.Si, to discuss the Institutionalisation phase of NGTS Program in Sambas District .

Dr. Jess also met the Director of Pontianak Health Polytechnic (Polkespon) on November 14, 2023 to discuss the future collaboration between SEAMEO RECFON and Pontianak Health Polytechnic. Both parties agreed to continue the collaboration with some new activities as well as continuing existing collaboration activities. The other staf of SEAMEO RECFON together with NGTS team of Polkespon (Sambas NGTS team) met the District Education and Culture Office of Sambas and representatives of 11 NGTS schools at institutionalization phase (Sekolah NGTS Mandiri) to deliver the NGTS Program progress in Sambas District.

The Sambas NGTS team also gathered with 23 NGTS schools at the strengthening phase in a half-day workshop. The event was held on November 15 2023 and was supported by the District Education and Culture Office of Sambas. The topics discussed were the importance of follow up plan, documentation and monitoring, and sharing session on the program implementation at school, challenges, and strategies towards the challenge to activate and continue the activities. During the afternoon, we attended a discussion session with the Sambas ECCNE team on the ECCNE Collaboration Program. To have a better plan and monitoring of the Program, the ECCNE Sambas team was selected by the Head of District Family Planning Office as coordinator of the Program. It was also agreed that the team will have the first meeting of 2024 in January 2024. The discussion was facilitated by the Head of District Family Planning Office.

The last journey on 16 November 2023, our team visited selected NGTS schools to observe and discuss further about the implementation of ECCNE and NGTS Program at the schools. Schools from elementary and junior high school performs and explained their effort since they joined the Program as NGTS schools. We were glad to know that all school principals develop some school policy that supports the NGTS activities. One example was a policy on healthy school canteen to increase the quality of food sold in the canteen. The canteen is no longer permits to sell high sugar packaging beverages.