On March 1, 2019, the African School Feeding Day was celebrated under the motto “Invest in School Feeding, based on local purchases to achieve zero hunger and sustainability of inclusive education including refugees and displaced people in Africa,” and the central ceremonies took place at Mulelemane Elementary School in the district of Magude. Speaking to those attending the ceremony, the Minister of Education, Conceita Sortane, reaffirmed the importance of joint efforts in investing in school meals, since such programs are fundamental to overcome the causes of food insecurity and chronic malnutrition.
“It is important to undertake joint efforts to invest in school feeding programs that can bring economic returns to sustainable and long-term development, reflecting especially on agriculture, nutrition, education and community resilience.”
Sortane also praised ADPP’s efforts through the School Feeding-Food for Knowledge Project and the World Food Program-WFP to ensure school feeding for thousands of children. “We would like to welcome the active participation of ADPP, WFP and other partners for their commitment to this noble cause for our children and the communities in general,” said Sortane. It should be noted that ADPP implements the School Feeding project in 271 schools in four districts of Maputo province, namely Moamba, Manhiça, Magude and Matutuíne, benefiting a little over 86,000 students daily. “School Feeding Project has already provided about 26 million meals” The School Feeding project, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through Planet Aid, operated by ADPP-Mozambique and the Ministry of Education and Human Development (MINEDH), within the framework of the National School Feeding Program (PRONAE) has already distributed some 26 million meals since proclaiming March 1st as the African School Feeding Day in 2016.
According to Executive Director Birgit Holm, who spoke during the official ceremonies of the celebration of African Food Day, the impact of School Feeding is so great that through the implementation of the project there has been a significant increase in school fees, primary education.
“There is diversification and enrichment of the diet through the introduction of foods with high nutritional value, produced locally in the gardens and school fields,” explained the Executive Director of ADPP. Holm also spoke of other gains that the project implemented by ADPP has been achieving, such as improving relations and levels of trust between students and teachers with the introduction of bilingual education; of the distribution of 18,000 School Kits through the extracurricular clubs component; of the distribution of 5,000 xironga and xichangana reading books, in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes, produced with the support of MINEDH, among others. “We will continue to invest in School Food” The representative of the World Food Program, Karin Manente, said the organization she runs will continue to invest in school meals as she explains it is a priority. “Over the last 20 years, school feeding has boosted enrollment, school attendance and school performance, as well as girls’ access to education in primary schools in rural areas,” said Manente.
“We are reducing the number of dropouts”
One of the biggest gains of the School Feeding Project is the reduction in dropout rates in students in primary education. According to the Administrator of the district of Magude, this is happening now in Maputo province. “In the district of Magude the School Feeding Project benefits 26 schools. We have been noticing that it is reducing the number of dropouts at the district level, so the activities implemented are to be commended “- Lázaro Manuel Mbambamba, administrator of Magude.
In turn, the Provincial Director of Education and Human Development, Jorgete de Jesus, highlighted the preponderant role that ADPP through the School Feeding project has been playing. “ADPP has provided invaluable collaboration to the education sector,” he said. It should be noted that African School Meal Day was created in January 2018 after heads of state gathered at the 26th African Union Summit decided to adopt school feeding as a continental strategy to improve the attendance and performance of pupils in schools and promote income generation and entrepreneurship in local communities.