"Stakeholders Commitment impresses me" - Isaias Wate, School Feeding Program coordinator
"The level of commitment of the parties involved and stakeholders in the design and implementation of the School Feeding Program, namely our US partners, in this particular case USDA as a funder and Planet Aid, local partners, from the Central Government to Provincial and District level as well as the schools and communities involved, is something that impresses me the most, since the beginning of this project, "says Isaias Wate.
For Wate, another aspect of greater prominence is the level of delivery of all program professionals, who spare no effort to help the Mozambican government in finding solutions to deal with hunger and malnutrition, which greatly influences the levels of absenteeism in schools. Wate says that, fortunately, during the joint monitoring visits with the Government, we note their great satisfaction with the program as well as the beneficiaries, school headmasters, local leaders among others.
Isaias Wate, 52, has been working for ADPP for 22 years, enough time to transform his life, he once thought that his ideal dream would be to work in an office with highly educated people, but ADPP gave him the opportunity to deal with the people, to serve the people and to live with the people, which made him an activist for humanitarian cause.
However, despite his vast experience - in the early years with ADPP he worked for a street children’s project, when the war had just ended. They were children coming from rural areas, some looking for shelter and security and others were still child soldiers, and almost all of them had become street children and had to undergo a process of re-socialization. The challenges were big - Wate still continues to be impressed by the transformations and results, more than the numbers, that the program achieves.
"It is a great honor and responsibility to represent a structuring program like this that transforms the way of being of a large universe of student population in the province of Maputo and their relatives, also strengthening the ties that unite two nations, the Americans and the Mozambicans, for a noble cause. It is our common desire that we have well-nourished and well-trained children, for only then will a prosperous nation be built, "he reiterates.
Our interlocutor assures us that his enthusiasm should not be confused with the absence of concerns, since many derive from the great needs that the schools have that cannot all be covered with our intervention and they resent these inadequacies hence why the Mozambican Government has opened up space for partner institutions such as ours to intervene and support, but despite these challenges, I would like to congratulate all those involved, with particular emphasis on the teachers who, despite this scenario, never redeemed themselves from their task of teaching.
Another aspect that influences the current state of issues and which is known by all Mozambicans, as being a macro problem, is the poverty that affects our country and also affects our education system. One of the causes of poverty is the insufficiency of family income and can be seen in the lack of clothing, food, transportation, housing for teachers, nutrition education within the families. Even so, we see communities putting effort on daily basis to minimize their suffering and our program contributes to their effort.
"What gratifies us and gives us more energy to continue is the confirmation on the ground that the project is impacting the lives of all and the request is for it to expand to all districts of the province and even the whole country. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to do this, but if we find the partners who support us in the expansion we have the human resources and experience to do so, "said Isaias Wate.
Wate bases his position on the return which is extremely good. One of the examples of this was the participation of more than 5,000 volunteers who prepare food for the children, as well as taking part in other activities linked to the program. This contradicts the speech and the predictions during early implementation when some currents of opinion claimed that it would not be possible to involve volunteers without paying them. "Today it has proven that the communities and all the local authorities have embraced and joined the program to get all the components under way. We have also capitalized on our experience working with communities and what we are seeing today is that they have realized that the children and communities are the biggest beneficiaries and have seized the initiative and actively participate in various ways, highlighting the kitchens and water committees."
Incidentally, when water systems were set up, the aim was for water to be directed mainly to the preparation of school meals and handwashing systems, but today the water benefits the whole surrounding community. And this influences the creation of the spirit of ownership. Therefore, the communities have already realized that the infrastructures that are being installed in the schools, also benefit them directly and this makes them have more respect for the goods and equipment.
Finally, Wate says he has a dream, which is actually a shared dream of the people he works with in the four districts, "which is the expansion of the program to more districts to create more impact in many places. We need to continue working with our partners and show them the added value and impact of the project. Another dream is to create sustainability based on the PRONAE (National School Feeding Program), so that when the project ends, the benefitting districts have legs to walk and thus reach the whole country, "he admitted, admitting that he is happy to see the results of his 22 years of work at ADPP, especially seen that some of the street children are teachers, nurses, university teachers and seeing this makes me have no alternatives but to continue being an activist and that identifies me.”