In the country of Bolivia, “615,000 boys and girls under 13 go to bed hungry every evening,” according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Providing meals at school can change the lives of these children. In the following interview with Vitoria Ginja of the World Food Programme, we will look at the status of school feeding in Bolivia.
How many children are benefiting from the WFP school feeding programs within the country?
Some 180,000 children benefit from WFP school feeding programs in Bolivia.
Discuss what effect the meals have on the children in terms of school attendance, performance, and nutrition.
Many children walk at least one mile to get to school, and receiving a full hot breakfast before starting classes alleviates their short term hunger and lets them benefit more from the lesson, thus having better performance rates and grades. In terms of nutrition, school feeding is a complement to what children receive at home and thus they get what they need in order to stay healthy. School feeding is a very good vehicle to add micronutrients to the diet of the children which otherwise would not be consumed.
What plans are there for making school lunches available for all children?
The Government of Bolivia will soon pass a School Feeding Law that will make the provision of school feeding mandatory and universal in all public schools, starting with the most food-insecure municipalities. The law will make resources available for this purpose to Departmental governments and municipalities. The law states that school feeding should be delivered two times a day (breakfast and lunch) in the rural areas, promoting the consumption of local food products and therefore assisting the food sovereignty of the country.
What would be the sources of funding for any expansion of the school feeding program? What has been the effect of high food prices on this funding effort?