African leaders are gathering this week in Abidjan to celebrate Africa Day of School Feeding. The three-day event hosted by the African Union and the government of Cote d’Ivoire is an arena for governments to celebrate gains and confirm future plans for school feeding programmes across Africa.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes the growing political will and commitment to school feeding across the continent. African nations continue to prioritise school feeding through policy and legislation, to improve retention, attendance and the performance of children in school as well as generating economic growth.
What: 4th Africa Day of School Feeding Celebrations
When: 27 February-1 March 2019
Where: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
- African Union Ministers of Education
- The Prime Ministers of Côte d’Ivoire and São Tome e Principé
- Senior Government Officials
- African Union Commissioner and Partners
- WFP directors
“In recent years, we have witnessed school feeding shifting from social protection programmes to a core feature of many countries’ strategies to ensure food and nutrition security for all,” said Daniel Balaban, director of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger in Brazil. “School feeding has become a key intervention for countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2, and the African Union has been a great advocate for the adoption of home-grown school feeding as a continental strategy to improve nutrition, boost smallholder farming and eliminate hunger.”
“School feeding programmes are changing lives in Africa – millions of people, especially girls, have regular access to education and nutritious meals, thanks to national governments whose commitment is supported by the African Union,” said Carmen Burbano, WFP Director of School Feeding. “The benefits of this investment extend beyond the schools to entire communities - smallholder farmers are finding new markets for their produce, which boosts economies and creates jobs – and governments will reap the benefits in human capital.”
In southern Africa, WFP supports school feeding programmes in seven countries - Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Madagascar – that reached 2.2 million primary and pre-primary children in 2018.
A major focus is expanding national ownership and commitment; the region’s governments spend some US$13 million on school meals programmes annually.
WFP analysis shows that every US$1 invested in school meals can generate up to US$10 in social and economic returns: improved health, education and productivity.
“For many children, the school meal is their only meal of the day, and key to a brighter future,” said Lola Castro, WFP’s Regional Director for southern Africa. “The trend of governments taking over the running of school feeding is pronounced in this region, with Lesotho and Zambia the latest to step up,” she added. “They know how vital an investment it is in their greatest resource – their children.”
Photos are available on request or here:
Photo selection African School Meals Day: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/VpqYnJT6y3Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).