Only two months after its inception, the One pint-of milk-per child programme managed by Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA), has now recorded 19,000 beneficiaries.
These children hail from the districts of Bugesera, Kamonyi, Nyanza, Ngororero, Gakenke and Karongi. These six districts were chosen nationally for the pilot programme, because of the high malnutrition index, according to statistics from the Health Ministry.
This programme is aimed at pupils between nursery school and primary three, with each getting a litre of milk per week.
While this might not seem much, the litre of milk provided to these children through this programme is very often the difference between a healthy child and a malnourished one.
The amounts of essential nutrients in a litre of milk are, very often, enough to give these children a fighting chance in the battle against childhood disease; vitamin A, potassium, vitamin D and calcium are all essential nutrients that children need to develop.
The fact that this programme aims at school going children isn’t a fluke. Education is recognised by the Rwandan leadership as the main driving force behind the country’s development because Rwanda’s main resource is its people.
However, if pupils in primary schools are suffering from malnutrition they will not be able to absorb all the information that the teachers give them. Building schools and training teachers isn’t enough if pupils are simply unable to learn.
That is why we commend RARDA for this initiative. We are confident that RARDA, in collaboration with all the various stakeholders, will broaden the reach of this commendable programme.
The aim should be to make sure that each and every Rwandan child has the opportunity to learn, and not be hindered by poor feeding.