The One-pint-of-milk-per-child programme that kicked off in May this year is now benefiting a total of 19,599 pupils from30 primary schools in six districts across the country.
This was revealed by the Director of Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA. Dr). Théogene. Rutagwenda who also heads the implementation committee of the programme.
The programme aims at providing free milk to children, as a way of addressing malnutrition among school children.
According to Rutagwenda, the programme has greatly benefited the school going children and they are beginning to like it.
“When we started giving milk to these children, some of them would even refuse saying that they had never tasted it their entire lives, but we persuaded them to drink the milk and now they are enjoying it,” he said.
Rutagwenda noted that the districts of Bugesera, Kamonyi, Nyanza, Ngororero, Gakenke and Karongi were selected as the pilot districts for the programme because they had high malnutrition index, according to the Health Ministry.
The programme targets pupils between nursery and primary three, with each getting a litre every week.
However, Rutagwenda said that even though the government has introduced this programme to fight malnutrition, it cannot be the only solution. He urged parents to embrace other programmes like the home garden initiative which helps to supply the families with vegetables and fruits.
Rutagwenda also urged them to always feed their children on other nutritious foods like eggs to supplement the school feeding programme.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the programme will be expanded to other schools across the country if the pilot project registers success.
The school feeding programme is run in conjunction with the ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture, with support from local leaders. The milk is supplied by Nyanza and Nyagatare dairies.