WFP is involved in a School Health and Nutrition Task Force, which is assisting the Ministry of Education in designing a strategic framework for school health and nutrition. WFP has lined up workshops and other activities for stakeholders in Ethiopia, advocating for a school meal for every Ethiopian child attending school.
What would be the sources of funding for any expansion of the school feeding program?
The Children in Local Development (CHILD)/Food for Education (FFE) program in Ethiopia is in a very fortunate funding position this year. We have secured enough resources for the coming school year (September 2008 - June 2009) and three-quarters of the resources required for the next school year (September 2009 - June 2010) based on annual commitments from Canada, a three-year commitment from the McGovern-Dole Food For Education Program (U.S.), and private funding from various corporations, such as YUM! Brands, and other smaller private donors.
How have high food prices impacted funding of school feeding programs?
The cost of running the program has increased by 50 percent since early 2007. Therefore, WFP either has to raise resources by an additional 50 percent, or do less with the same amount of money. However, it should be noted that the actual funding crisis for CHILD/FFE came before the rising food/fuel prices really affected the program, as the Resource Allocation to Ethiopia's Country Program was reduced by 43% from 2006 to 2007. This resulted in a significant reduction of the CHILD/FFE program from supporting 653,000 school children to only 378,000 school children. The program is now recovering and currently reaching 414,078 children. The Country Program plan is to support 438,000 school children this year.
How can someone help the school feeding program?
Although the funding looks very good at the moment, a program like CHILD/FFE needs multi-annual commitments and funding in order to ensure continuity of the program and achieve results. Therefore, it is important to continue raising funds for 2009 in order to ensure that the program is sustained at current levels.
Secondly, the CHILD initiative needs good partnerships to help provide Essential Package elements. Therefore, inviting interested organizations to partner with WFP and Ministry of Education to deliver Essential Package services would be of great support.
Anything else you'd like to add about why you think school feeding is important for people to support?
Supporting school feeding programs helps children get an education in a healthy and child-friendly school environment. It is the best way to ensure a future generation of productive adults.