Joy gripped over 7,000 students in 21 schools in Sudan’s Blue Nile State this week after the World Food Programme (WFP) resumed its school meals programme after a five-year break.
The United Nations body suspended the programme which fed about 70,000 students due to insecurity blocking access to the region.
A 15-year-old student in the Blue Nile State, Ibrahim Ahmed, recounted the difficulties they faced during the suspension of the programme when he was in the second grade.“I remember there were times when my sisters and I used to go home for breakfast in the middle of the school day. It is almost a one-hour walk from school to home, and we either ended up missing out on a lot by the time we got back to school, or we never went back because we were too tired to walk again,” now seventh grader Ibrahim told the WFP.
WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director Matthew Hollingworth expressed gratitude to the country’s education ministry and education stakeholders for supporting the resumption of the programme.
“I share the joy of children in Blue Nile who will now be having healthy meals, which we will provide in their schools. School meals not only prevent hunger among children during the school day, but they can also enhance nutrition and help improve school performance,” he added.
The school meals provision is WFP’s longest-running programme in Sudan since 1969 feeding almost a million children.
Sudan is facing recurring conflicts causing displacements, insecurity, and crisis levels of malnutrition and food insecurity especially in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur States.