HomeWorldAfrica9th Africa School Feeding Day 2024

9th Africa School Feeding Day 2024


Africa School Feeding Day is observed on 1st March every year. The day highlights the need for school feeding schemes to increase enrollments and to upgrade retention and performance.

The World Food Program has over six decades of experience working alongside governments to support school meals and health initiatives. The organization’s resultant aim is to support and enable government ownership of school meal programs.

School feeding initiatives

National school feeding programs distributed food to over 65 million children in Africa in 2019, which is a substantial increase from 38.4 million in 2013, according to the African Union Biannual Report on Africa School Feeding Day.

This success has sprung from over a decade of sustained growth in such programs which began in Africa in 2003, with the adoption by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) of the homegrown school feeding (HGSF) approach of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and the Malabo Commitments.

A young Kenyan nutritionist Wawira Njiru set up the ‘Food for Education’ feeding program which provides funded and healthy food to students across schools in Kenya. Starting from 100 students 10 years ago, to feeding 33,000 students every day, Food for Education has come a long way.

Wawira reports that school enrolments and completion have gone up at all schools through Food for Education services.

The Ruiru Primary School Principal Stephen Saruni in Kenya reports that “I can say that minus food (there is) no education. Children entirely depend on food to make them energetic to undertake these lessons. This program has assisted us in terms of retaining children in school”.

Children pay a total of 15 shillings which is equal to 0.13 US cents. To receive the meal, the parents of children finance an e-wallet. The amount is noted on wristbands and those that have paid for wear it to the kitchen.

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WFP Report

While observing African School Feeding Day, important studies from a new WFP report show that home-grown school meals assist in fighting hunger, boost vitamins and minerals, and combat deficiency, anemia, and obesity.

This improves the number of children who go to school, aids in building local resilience, and with food growing sustainably, can effectively lower GHG emissions.

Hameed Nuru, a former World Food Program (WFP) country director in Sudan reports that “You’re creating a whole ecosystem in which teachers and parents come together to plant, and where you have local procurement which stimulates the local economy”.

At the Mantapala refugee settlement in northern Zambia, homegrown meals are a source of nutritious meals for young students from the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose parents sometimes find it difficult to feed their families.

Moreover, according to Nuru, his hometown of Botswana is a “gold standard” for homegrown school feeding. The country has been exercising its program for decades. Today, primary students can eat not one but two homegrown meals each school day.

School Meals Coalition

By mid 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and schools were closed, 388 million children approached by national programs had fallen by 370 million.

The pandemic emphasized the need to include vulnerable children back into schools along with safeguarding the economic future of their society. The African Union in 2021, initiated the making of a coalition called School Meals Coalition at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September 2021.

The coalition aims to include 73 million children of whom 62 million live in the African continent. In addition to this, 59 countries of which 27 are in Africa, now support the Coalition.

To mark the Africa School Feeding Day, it is imperative to note that Africa is making developments to ensure food reaches every school-going child in the continent. African countries are committing to the HGSF program as part of the School Meals Coalition.

Moreover, the AU is aligned with a Data and Monitoring Initiative of the School Meals Coalition spearheaded by the WFP, which would also follow progress throughout the African continent, as governments march forward after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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