School meals for nutrition and learning
School meals provide a powerful incentive to send children (especially girls) to school and to keep them there, while ensuring students receive the nutrients they need to concentrate and learn more effectively. The production and purchase of school meals from local small-scale farmers boosts local agriculture and transforms food assistance into a sustainable investment for the whole community. The World Food Programme’s school meals programme in Burundi enabled over 40,000 students in 61 schools in the food-insecure province of Muyinga to receive daily hot meals between 2014 and 2017. The attendance rate in the schools involved rose to 93% in the region.
- Over 40,000 students in 61 schools received a daily hot meal at school. The daily meal consisted of a bowl of fortified maize, beans, fortified vegetable oil and iodized salt.
- The attendance rate in the schools involved rose to 93% (equally for boys and girls), with an annual increase of 8%.
In addition to the hot meals, WFP provided capacity-building support to the schools, their local authorities and communities to help ensure long-term sustainability.
WFP’s efforts focused on the following areas:
- Planning and monitoring the implementation of the programme at school and district level.
- Management of the school canteens by School Councils (including meal preparation, firewood and water collection).
- The building and maintenance of store rooms and kitchens.
- Training school heads and teachers in nutritional education.
90% of the food commodities used in the school meals were locally produced and purchased from 15 smallholder farmers' cooperatives (up from the 5 planned), whose 3,403 members - a majority of which are women - were trained in administrative and financial management, as well post-harvest handling and quality standards.
The 15 cooperatives benefited from post-harvest processing equipment (sheeting, scales, moisture meters and silos) to address critical needs, gained in competitiveness and significantly enhanced their market opportunities.
At an institutional level, WFP also supported the government to develop a school feeding policy and to design and implement home-grown school feeding for all national pre-primary and primary schools, with a focus on local food purchased from smallholder farmers.