School Feeding in Namibia

Last week a one-day school feeding case study inception workshop in the Namibian Capital, Windhoek between the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The aim of the workshop is to review the current school feeding programme of the Southern African country. This will be followed by a case study conducted by the WFP, the World Bank and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) to better understand the characteristics of the school feeding programme.

Officiating at the workshop, the Under-Secretary for Formal Education in the MoE, Charles Kabajani explained that the Namibian School Feeding Programme is considered as one of the strategies for addressing inequalities in education and expanding educational opportunities for disadvantaged Namibians.

He added that the government recognizes the potential of the school feeding programme to relieve hunger for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) as well as contributing to increasing their enrollment, attendance and levels of concentration in class.

According to Kabajani, when the MoE took over the management of the school feeding programme from the WFP in 1996, only 78 000 children were enrolled in the programme.

Sixteen years later, the programme has evolved into one of the largest national food safety net programmes entirely managed by government, he said.

The current programme reaches over 265 000 orphans and vulnerable learners, representing over 50% of children attending primary school. Despite the positive achievements made so far in advancing the school feeding programme, some challenges still exist, he stressed.

This includes the need to expand the school feeding programme to secondary schools, something which was noted at the education conference which was held last June.

“This expansion is critical in ensuring that all vulnerable children are facilitated to access education and a nutritious meal at school,” he said.

Meanwhile, WFP Officer in Charge Jennifer Bitonde, who also spoke at the workshop, explained that the planned study will offer an opportunity to document the historical transition process and the characteristics of the school feeding programme that will serve to provide guidance to other countries implementing school feeding programmes.

She added that once completed, the case study will be published to serve as a practical review of current country experiences around the world.

Best practices and lessons learned from the transition to national ownership will also be analysed to provide useful information for countries currently undergoing the transition process.

The workshop is being attended by representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture, Water and Forestry; Gender Equality and Child Welfare; Health and Social Services and Finance, as well as MoE hostel officers from various regions in the country.

Original Article Adapted from the Namibian Sun: School Feeding Under Review 

Read more articles on the inception workshop: 

All Africa: Namibia: Feeding Programme to be Expanded 

The Economist: Feeding Programme to be Expanded 

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