Data on Changing Perception through a Participatory Approach by Involving Adolescent School Children in Evaluating Smart Food Dishes in School Feeding Programs – Real-Time Experience from Central and Northern Tanzania


This dataset has data about a study to test the prospects for, and acceptance of, pigeon pea and finger millet-based dishes in a school feeding program for 2822 adolescents’ in Central Tanzania. The study focuses on incorporating these crops through a participatory approach involving a series of theoretical and practical training sessions, for the period of 6 months on the nutritional quality and sensory characteristics in Tanzania. Sharing knowledge on the nutritional value of these crops and involving students in the acceptance study changed their negative perception of finger millet and pigeon pea by 79.5% and 70.3%, respectively. Fifteen months after the study period, schools were still continued feeding the dishes and more than 95% of the students wanted to eat the finger millet and pigeon pea dishes at school. Around 84.2% of the students wanted to include pigeon pea 2–7 times a week and 79.6% of the students wanted to include finger millet on all 7 days in a school meal. The study proved that it is possible to change food perceptions and bring about behavior change by sharing knowledge on their benefits and by engaging the consumers through a participatory and culturally appropriate approach.