Reducing hunger among school kids
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. Purchasing 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 home-grown school meals programme in Mozambique enabled over 85,000 students in 189 schools in the most food insecure provinces of the country to receive a daily hot meal at school between 2014 and 2017, increasing the enrolment rate by 4.6% (5% for girls).
The World Food Programme’s home-grown school meals programme in Mozambique enabled over 85,400 students at 189 primary schools in the provinces of Tete, Gaza, Manica and Nampula to receive a daily hot meal at school between 2014 and 2017. That was 15% better than the expected results. The daily meal consisted of a bowl of fortified maize, beans, fortified vegetable oil and iodized salt.
During the programme period, the enrolment rate in the schools increased by 4.6% overall and 5% for girls.
In addition to the hot meals, WFP provided assistance to the schools, their local authorities and communities with several complementary activities, including:
- Planning and monitoring the programme at school and district level.
- Management of the canteens by the School Councils (including handling, storage, stock reports, meal preparation and distribution, hygiene, etc.).
- The building and maintenance of storerooms and kitchens.
- Training school heads and teachers in nutrition education.
All the food commodities used for the school meals were produced by local farmers’ associations. WFP trained 20 of these associations to produce higher quality food and linked them with the school meals programme. This allowed them to access a source of fixed demand and sell their produce at a fair price, boosting their incomes and improving their livelihoods.
At an institutional level, WFP also provided technical and policy support to the Government with a view to designing and setting up a nationally owned, funded and managed home-grown school meals programme for all the country's pre-primary and primary schools.
“I consider the school feeding programme to be very important. In fact, it is contributing hugely to a reduction in the drop-out rate in primary schools. The enrolment rate is also rising as a result of our efforts and this has happened in a country that has almost 7 million children of school-going age, almost 550,000 of whom are orphans. Before we started the programme, children regularly abandoned school during the year because they had to help their families with field work, especially at harvest time, as well as trading and selling in the local markets when they needed food. This happens less and less now.”
“I have noticed a big improvement in children’s attention and concentration during lessons. Once they’ve eaten, they don't miss a word of what I say! Before lunch, they’re like cars without fuel. They look at you, but they don’t really hear what you’re saying. Over the long term, their learning outcomes and academic performance have improved.”
More about this programme:
- Feeding minds, changing lives, 23 September 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.