A five-year home-grown school feeding programme was last week launched at Sanza Primary School in Karongi District, Western Province, aimed at providing school meals with complementary health and nutrition interventions to 83,000 primary school children.
Supported by the World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with World Vision and the ministries of Education and Agriculture, the programme will be implemented in the four districts of Karongi, Rutsiro, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru.
According to the WFP country representative, Jean-Pierre de Margerie, the four districts were selected based on the level of food insecurity and economic vulnerability.
“School meals are the most prevalent safety nets worldwide; they play a big role in helping families support their children’s education while enhancing their food security. Additionally, the meals help to increase enrolment and attendance, reduce dropout rates and improve cognitive abilities,” he said.
The Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, said the programme is the result of a mjor partnership for the key stakeholders in the education sector.
“This home-grown school feeding programme will contribute significantly to the health of primary school children. School meals are a powerful tool towards encouraging children to attend school regularly. In addition, the programme will be beneficial to local communities through supporting small scale farmers grow and sell their food crops to schools,” he noted.
Francois Ndayisaba, the the mayor of Karongi District, said the programme will help improve nutrition among the school-going children in the targeted areas.
“At least one out of five people in the community are poor; with this new programme, we are optimistic that we shall eradicate this problem within a short period of time. By feeding these children right, we are preparing them to be good future leaders, which will contribute to the progress of our country,” he said.
A daily lunch composed of maize, beans and vegetable oil is provided to 40,000 children in 49 schools in Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru, while porridge made of high nutritious fortified food is provided to 43,000 children in 55 schools in Rustiro and Karongi.