Angola is recovering from a 27-year-long civil war that ended in 2002. Twenty-eight percent of this African nation’s population is living in extreme poverty. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reports that “many communities have little or no access to basic social services.” Initiatives to fight poverty, like school feeding, take on a critical role in the recovery of Angola. We will look at school feeding in Angola in the following interview with WFP representative Domingos Afonso Ndedica.
How many children are benefiting from the WFP school feeding programs within the country?
A total of 147,182 children in the most conflict affected provinces of Bie and Huamba are benefiting from school feeding programs in Angola.
Discuss what effect the meals have on the children in terms of school attendance, performance and nutrition.
The number of children attending classes in WFP-assisted schools increased to 94 percent in 2007/2008 compared to 88 percent on the previous school academic year of 2006/2007. The School Feeding Program has also succeeded in raising awareness among parents regarding the importance of education, particularly for the girls. This is especially true of food insecure households that have a hard time providing a daily meal to their children.
What plans are there for making school meals available for all children?
The Government of Angola has launched a three-year pilot school feeding program to serve students who were previously assisted by WFP. The Government of Angola is now budgeting for a countrywide school feeding program-so the current program will serve as a pilot for taking the government sponsored program nation wide.
What would be the sources of funding for any expansion of the school feeding program?
The Government of Angola is one source of funding as well as The Brazilian National Fund for Education Development (FNDE) with support of the Brazilian Government has helped to implement National School Feeding program.
How can someone help the school feeding program?
Everyone should acknowledge the opportunities and development passage from generation to generation. The illiteracy rate of poor children is most critical in conflict affected and food insecure zones. Anyone who donates US 50 cents per day, specifically for school feeding, is contributing to the bright future of poor children. Please, visit WFP’s website to make a donation.
School feeding takes an integrated approach that is supported by the technical expertise and materials of several partners. This approach helps the program focus on hygiene, sanitation, and agricultural activities such as school gardens.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about why you think school feeding is important for people to support?
School feeding plays a critical role not only by contributing to education of school children but also helps to mitigate the situation of food insecure families at rural areas. WFP was targeting school feeding activities in most conflict affected zones with high concentration of resettled returnees recovering from the war, a group of extremely food-insecure people who consume less than 1,400 calories a day. Most of the families targeted spend around 60% of their income on food. In general, they consume a maximum of one meal per day.
Now, the Government of Angola will be feeding these children. The government has launched a three years pilot school feeding program in those provinces previously assisted by WFP. The pilot school feeding will serve as baseline for the National school Feeding program to help school children countrywide.
School feeding is also powerful tool for communicating important messages to children and parents. For example, WFP, together with partner agencies, supports HIV/AIDS clubs where school children learn about HIV/AIDS, hygiene, and sanitation. WFP encourages the participation of surrounding communities by involving parents in the preparation, cooking, and distribution of meals to children.