Rwanda learns from Brazil's Experience in School Feeding

School Cooks in Ghana

The Rwandan Ministry of Education is hosting a two day national consultation meeting to formulate a way forward for a nationally school feeding programme. The initiative is supported by the Government of Brazil through the Brazil-based World Food Programme (WFP)'s Center of Excellence Against Hunger, technical support is also being provided from WFP Rwanda.

The meeting indicates an appreciation for the promise that at least one nutritious meal each school day boosts school enrolment and promotes regular school attendance. Parents are motivated to send their children to school instead of keeping them at home to work. 

"We believe that school feeding is an effective means to channel vital nourishment to children, particularly the poor, increasing school enrollment and retention while improving academic achievement and reducing dropout as well as contributing in the fight against poverty and hunger, and helping to reduce diseases," said Sharon Haba, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education.

Haba added that when school feeding programmes are linked to local agricultural production, they also ensure a regular and substantial demand on the local market.

A group of delegates from various ministries first went to Brazil on a study tour mid-2012 in order to learn about the Brazilian experience in fighting hunger, poverty and promoting food security through school feeding.

"The team found that the Brazilian school feeding program was instrumental in the country's achievement of educational, social and economic progress. Several aspects of the Brazilian school feeding were found relevant to Rwanda's context where, similarly, ambitious development objectives are envisaged and strived for, with poverty reduction strategies rounded on increasing the resilience of the population and building upon home-grown initiatives," said Dr Erasme Rwanamiza, the Director General of education planning at the Ministry of Education. 

Read the full article on All Africa, written by Jean-Christophe Nsanzimana, 26 February 2013

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