The people of Zimbabwe are suffering from severe food shortages and need the assistance of aid groups such as the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). According to WFP, the food shortages are the result of “a succession of small harvests, some poor agricultural policies and a declining economy.”
School feeding programs are needed to help children through this food crisis in Zimbabwe. Ingela Christiansson of the WFP in Zimbabwe discusses school feeding and how it helps vulnerable children and their families.
How many children are benefiting from the WFP school feeding program within the country?
The WFP School Based Feeding Program (SBFP) is targeting schools in high-density urban and peri-urban suburbs with the most food insecure households and children, identified based on an assessment jointly carried out by WFP and NGO partners.
Some parents are unable to send their children to school, so WFP has expanded its school feeding program to include these vulnerable children. As a result, approximately 170,000 children, both in and out of school, are benefiting from the program.
Discuss what effect the meals have on the children in terms of school attendance, performance and nutrition.
The objectives of the program are to increase food consumption and improve nutrition in children, both in and out of school. By extending the program to children not currently attending school, WFP can reach the most vulnerable, food insecure children. For children in school, the break-time meal provides them with a nutritious meal each school day and allows what little food is available in the household to go farther.
The School Based Feeding Program (SBFP) directly contributes to increased food access for the children. The provision of school meals also increases enrollment and attendance in school and alleviates short-term hunger, thus improving concentration in class.
What plans are there for making school meals available for all children?
Until the end of April 2008, some 115,000 in-school children in two districts, Bulawayo and Harare, were provided with meals every school day through WFP. WFP has expanded its coverage, as well as its caseload, since May 2008. In Harare, the number of beneficiaries has more than doubled from 25,000 to 52,000, due to expansion of the covered area.