Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD) have started looking at how to improve schoolchildren’s health, nutrition and education in Enugu and Anambra States, Nigeria.
On a recent scoping mission, PCD went to see the states’ school feeding programmes in action, where opportunities were identified on how support can be provided to the programmes’ design, implementation and scale up, and how other partners and donors could be engaged with to further strengthen the interventions.
A Community Focused Programme
To date, over 700 pupils of public primary schools in Enugu and Anambra States, Nigeria now enjoy a free school meal every school day. In addition to helping improve schoolchildren's development, education and nutrition the school meals are sourced locally from smallholder farmers, securing them of a fixed income by supplying ot the schools.
The programme also engages rural communities to design, co-finance and manage the project. The meals are prepared and served by parents of the pupils that were trained as cooks under the guidance of nutritionists. In addition, the parents also pay N10 ($0.05) per pupil per day, as a way of building strong community ownership.
After four months of school feeding in Enugu State the programme which feeds 517 pupils saw the proportion of pupils with normal Body Mass Index (BMI) for age increase from 49% to 88.2%, and a significant improvement in learning abilities, school attendance and dropout rate was also recorded.
This initiative is carried out by NGO, the Pan African Community Initiative on Education and Health, with support from private sector partners Nigeria Breweries Plc. and Heineken African Foundation.