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Sahel Food Crisis: An Interview with Célestine Ouédraogo of WFP in Burkina Faso

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With the food crisis escalating in the Sahel region of Africa, it’s urgent that children be protected from hunger and kept in school.

In Burkina Faso, one of the affected Sahel countries, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) provides school feeding for impoverished children. These meals take on even more importance during the current hunger emergency. 

When drought strikes, families are more likely to remove their kids from school and keep them home to work. However, If there is food available at the school then parents are more likely to keep their children enrolled.


School feeding helps children get the nutrition they need so they can stay in class and learn. (WFP/Anne Poulsen)


In this interview Célestine Ouédraogo of WFP updates us on the status of school feeding in Burkina Faso as the Sahel food crisis unfolds.

How many children are receiving WFP school meals in Burkina Faso?

Each year 90,019 children enrolled in 691 schools in the Sahel Region benefit daily from a flour-based fortified breakfast and couscous-based lunch. In addition to the meals served in schools, 9,510 girls enrolled in the last two grades are receiving a take-home ration of 10 kg of cereals per month, which encourages parents to keep the girls in school and enable them to complete the primary school cycle.


School feeding opens new opportunities for children in developing countries. (WFP/Anne Poulsen)


Are these schools in the areas affected by the drought?

Yes, all these schools are in the areas affected by the drought.

The Sahel region is one of the most food-insecure regions, and has among the highest rates of malnutrition.

Does WFP intend to expand school feeding in Burkina Faso?

No.

Does WFP have enough resources to provide school meals for at
least the rest of the year?

YES, thanks to the generosity of 2/3 donors, we have been able to secure funding up to end of 2012, which is essential if we want to ensure that children can pursue their education despite the food insecurity that the country is facing this year.

For more information please visit the World Food Programme.

About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Michael

    Looks like a great program. Thanks for publicising it.
    Cheers,