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School Meals support children’s education and nutrition

 

School meals programs are effective safety nets, helping to ensure that every child has access to education, has a thriving health and better nutrition status. Good nutrition helps children grow smart and unlock their potential.

 

More than 300 leaders from 67 countries will come together next week at the Global Child Nutrition Forum. This year the theme is “Bridge to Sustainable Development through School Meal Programs: Engaging Local, National, Regional and Global Communities”.

 

The annual event, organized by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and the UN World Food Program will seek to foster cooperation between national and encourage countries to develop and improve national school meal programs that are locally-sourced and country-operated.

 

The Food for Knowledge program funded by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) via Planet Aid Inc, is being implemented by ADPP Mozambique. The Food for Knowledge program provides primary school children with daily meals and ensures children have access to clean water, toilets and hygiene. The program also trains students in child health and nutrition and establishes after-school learning clubs where educational kits are distributed.

 

ADPP Mozambique, a member of Humana People to People, is attending the event sharing experiences gained from its Food for Knowledge program, currently benefitting children attending primary schools in Maputo, Mozambique. Program Co-ordinator Stanley Kudzibatira will share some of the successes and challenges-and look forward to learn what others are doing. The Forum provides an opportunity to interact with experts from around the world, see other school meal programs in action and more.

 

Extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a barrier to sustainable development and creates a trap from which people, mostly children, cannot easily escape. More than one third of all child deaths every year around the world are attributed to malnutrition, specifically undernutrition, which weakens the body's resistance to illness.

 

If a child is malnourished, the child's physical and mental growth and development will be slowed. This will affect the child for the rest of his or her life. Providing school based meals becomes a necessary step in limiting the impact of malnutrition.

 

The Planet Aid administered and USDA-funded Food for Knowledge school meals program in Mozambique is working to address malnutrition over 60,000 children across Maputo province. Through the program, Humana People to People member ADPP Mozambique is working with 245 primary schools to implement the school feeding program, as well as strengthen nutrition awareness and improve school attendance for students.

 

Program outcomes are contributing toward both SDG4 (Quality Education) and SDG2 (Zero Hunger) targets. The ultimate goal is to help children actively participate in primary school education without being affected by food insecurity. 

 

Food for Knowledge program began early 2013 covering 245 primary schools in Maputo Province, and involves primary school children as well as their parents, teachers and their communities.

 

The program has seen almost 33 million school meals consumed.

 

Our experiences from school meals programs has taught us that when the rations are appropriately designed, school meals can improve the nutrition status of  primary school children by addressing macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies. This leads to reduction in children dropping out of school and increased school enrollment. 

 

About 370.000 people in the districts of Manhiça, Magude, Moamba and Matutuine benefit directly from the school meals. The project also supports the training of primary school teachers at the 11 ADPP Teacher Training Colleges and students at the Pedagogy course at OWU, One World University.

 

Humana People to People remains committed to do its part in responding to the 2030 Agenda call to action demanding an end to hunger and ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations.