Namibian School Feeding Programme Gaps Identified

An operational review of the Namibian School Feeding Programme (NSFP) uncovered significant gaps in the design and implementation of the programme, which affected its quality.

The review was done by the Ministry of Education with technical support from the World Food Programme, New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) and the Partnership of Child Development in 2012.

It found gaps in support that focused on policy guidance, knowledge generation and management, system development and strengthening, and capacity building that are implemented to manage the programme.

The NSFP was launched as a response to the growing needs of pupils who were affected by a series of droughts in the 1990s. Government made a decision to introduce it mainly in rural areas to mitigate the impact of poverty and allow children from poor families to attend school.

Minister of Education David Namwandi said the challenge of eliminating hunger among school children required an integrated approach.

He said this while addressing government officials at a two-day review workshop on NSFP in Windhoek last week.

Namwandi said the programme will need help from other government ministries, organisations and civil society to ensure that the implementation of the new two-year road map will identify actions to strengthen the programme.

"This [move] is a clear demonstration of our government's commitment to equalise education opportunities to disadvantaged children in Namibia ... to ensure they do not miss out on education because of hunger," said Namwandi.

He said the new school feeding reference manual will spell out the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in ensuring that the benefits of the programme are maximised.

Namwandi therefore appealed to key governments ministries, organisations and civil society to come together to review the progress made towards achieving the goals that are articulated in the 2012 Five-Year Road Map Actions for the school feeding programme.

The school feeding programme is currently providing mid-morning meals to more than 320 000 primary school pupils in rural and periphery urban areas.

According to Namwandi further discussions are also underway within government to introduce the programme to Early Education Development Centres.

"These efforts are supported by the government within the framework of the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) which highlights the school feeding programme as an important vehicle for addressing food insecurity in our country," he said.

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