Editorial: The success of school feeding programme will inspire more initiatives

A few years ago the Government of Rwanda decided that all pupils and students should have their lunch at school as part of a broader effort to address such cases as absenteeism, school dropout and late-coming among learners.

To kick start the programme the Ministry of Education set aside a budget but parents were also encouraged to step in and help foot the bill.

Many schools have gone on to work closely with parents to implement the initiative and the latter have embraced it because of the benefits it has come with.

As a result of this collaboration, up to 97.3 per cent of learners now have their lunch at school, according to official figures. 

The Minister for Education told this publication last week that this has resulted in students getting to school on time and reduced school dropout. Teachers are also now able to start teaching on time, thereby generally improving the quality of education.

The success of the school feeding programme is another proof that nothing is impossible as long as all stakeholders pull in the same direction.

Now local government authorities are being called on to ensure that, in the future, food that schools will need is available within their respective districts, which will have a positive impact on agriculture across the country.

Indeed, if the gains made under the school feeding programme are anything to go by there is no reason to doubt the feasibility of a recent ministerial directive to schools to ensure that each learner drinks at least half a litre of milk a day.  Nonetheless, there is need for all the parties involved to cooperate to make this a reality.