Cartier Philanthropy - Feeding minds, changing lives

Feeding minds, changing lives

23 Sep 2014

Gelito and Cordalia’s schools are two of 175 selected schools in Mozambique where the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing school meals to the students, ensuring they receive the nutrients they need to concentrate .

“We want to become teachers!” Cordalia and Gelito say

Cordalia Nico, 10 years old, is a second grade student at Cataxa Primary School, in Changara district, Tete province. She lives with her aunt and her four cousins in a tiny hut made of mud, five kilometres away from school. Her aunt is the sole caretaker and despite her hard work, sometimes the children missed classes to do odd jobs in the village to earn money and provide food for the family. That was before meals were served daily in the local school. 
Since 2012, when the School Feeding Programme was launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Cordalia eats a hot meal of fortified maize, beans, vegetable oil enriched with vitamin A and iodized salt every day. She now attends classes regularly and does not have to struggle with hunger anymore. 
Cordalia has always liked school. “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher”, she proudly says. “I already know how to write my name and other things and would really like to teach other children in future”. She points out that even though there is no food in the morning at home and she needs to walk the long distance to school on an empty stomach, she is happy because she now knows she will have a meal before the classes and she will be able to concentrate on the lessons and learn a lot.

Gelito Abel, 11 years old, lives in Massecha, a small village in the district of Cahora Bassa, in the Province of Tete, one of the most food insecure areas in Mozambique. He is one of 542 students at Massecha Primary School. Despite his age, he is still in second grade because he used to skip school to find ways to buy food, before the School Feeding Programme was introduced to his school. “Every day now, I eat a good maize meal with beans during break times, and this gives me the energy I need” he says. “With this meal, I can concentrate better in class and work hard in order that one day I will be a teacher and help the future children of my village”.

Gelito’s and Cordalia’s schools are two of 175 selected schools in the country where the WFP is providing school meals to the students. WFP’s school meals programmes have many benefits: they provide a powerful incentive to send children (and especially girls) to school and to keep them there, while ensuring students receive the nutrients they need to concentrate and learn more efficiently.

The majority of my students live 10 to 15 kilometres away from school, but since the WFP School Feeding Programme started we have recorded an increase of 22% in enrolment rates. The most important outcome, however, is the improved concentration of students during the lessons.

Francisco Pondebembe, Massecha Primary School’s Headmaster.

The programme also benefits the community as a whole. “The School Feeding Programme has lifted a burden from many parents: they now know their children are at school and they have a good meal there” says community member Joshua Sumate.

Learn more about WFP’s programmes supported by Cartier Philanthropy

The first State of School Feeding Worldwide report, produced by WFP, provides  a global picture and analysis of school feeding programmes, and data on how governments use school meals as a “safety net” in times of crisis.