First celebrated in 2000, World School Milk Day is an international, annual event held on the last Wednesday in September. Established by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the day provides an opportunity for the international community to focus on the importance of school milk and its health benefits for growing children.
Celebrations are unique to each country, and they involve children in a variety of ways. In 2005, about 40 countries celebrated the day. The following show some examples of the festivities:
•In Argentina, Tetra Pak together with a national dairy, Milkaut, and the Mendoza government distributed flavored milk in several schools in Mendoza city.
•School children in western Australia participated in various competitions creating posters, drawings, poems and stories about the benefits of milk in children’s diets. Prizes were awarded to the winners of the best milkshake-making machines.
•Belize celebrated World School Milk Day for the first time last year. Initiatives included a press interview on the national radio station and a poster contest on the theme “Milk – A Food for Everyone.”
•In China, the Ministry of Education launched the Student Nutrition & Food Sanitation Competition.
•The Costa Rican Ministry of Education spoke to children about the importance of milk consumption for achieving healthy bones and teeth and for good results in school.
•Children from elementary schools and kindergartens in Croatia had the possibility to visit farms and get insight into how milk is produced.
•In Chile, a milk producer organization launched the campaign “Yo tomo leche” aimed at increasing milk consumption.
•The Danish School Milk Scheme gave importance to the results of the on-going school milk project “School Milk Pays!” Under this project, a staff of dietary consultants visited schools to increase awareness about the significance of good mealtimes and drinks at school.
•In Ethiopia, School Milk Day celebrations are part of the strategy to develop the national dairy industry. FEPALE (Federacion Panamericana de Lecheria) prepared an electronic magazine on the topic of school milk.
•The Dairy Nutrition Council of Finland organized a design competition under the theme “Milk is Cool.” The secondary school students were asked to design a milk glass underlay.
•Georgia celebrated the day for the first time last year. Milk and dairy products were distributed to an orphan’s school.
•Guatemala also joined celebrations for the first time in 2005. A newspaper supplement was distributed to discuss milk in schools, the importance of drinking milk and the importance of school milk programs for the development of the dairy industry. One of the dairy plants organized events in the schools, distributing gifts to children.
•In Iceland, the national Milk Marketing Board was invited to participate in an Icelandic television show. The representatives of the board introduced and explained the purpose of the day and what had been done to make milk more accessible to Icelandic school children. During the show they exhibited a milk bar, discussed nutritional facts about milk and explained why milk is so important for children.
•In Iran, the school committee initiated various activities including school visits from government officials and relevant ministries. During the ceremonies, milk and promotional material such as clocks, rulers, notebooks and erasers were distributed.
•Indonesia’s school milk program ran a used-carton design competition as part of the campaign to promote the recycling of used packaging material.
•In the Netherlands, a press article informed citizens about World School Milk Day. Interviews with children and photos were published.
•The Oman National Dairy Products Co. Ltd., in association with the Oman Ministry of Education, distributed free milk in eight primary schools in the Sharqiya region. Individual schools organized intraschool activities such as debates and essay writing contests to improve awareness about milk.
•In Mexico, a professor asked his students to prepare some posters to promote the celebration in their community.
•In Norway, schools throughout the country were contacted via e-mail to give them suggestions on how to commemorate the day.
•Pakistan celebrated with a day-long carnival aimed at involving school children and raising their awareness on the benefits of drinking packaged milk.
•In Poland, the national dairy foundation organized an event in a selected school.
•In the Philippines, a puppet show on the importance of drinking milk was given for children at public elementary schools.
•In Slovenia, questions and short exercises about dairy and the importance of milk consumption were prepared and handed out to children at school.
•Saudi Arabian celebrations included the distribution of free milk for school children, a “Why Milk?” exhibition and the introduction of a new cartoon character. World School Milk Day will be celebrated this year Wednesday, September 27, 2006. PD
—From World Food and Agriculture Organization website