Innovation of the Week: School Feeding Programs Improve Livelihoods, Diets, and Local Economies

Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

In many parts sub-Saharan Africa, 60 percent of children come to school in the morning without breakfast, if they attend school at all. Many suffer from health and developmental problems, including stunted growth. Exhausted from hunger and poor nutrition, they often have trouble paying attention and learning during class.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals for about 20 million children in Africa. While some national governments, including in Côte d'Ivoire, have provided school meals for decades, the food, fuel, and financial crises of 2007-08 highlighted the role that school nutrition programs can play in not only improving education, health, and nutrition, but also providing a safety net for children living in poverty. For some children, these programs provide the only real meal of the day.

Improved school menus provide students with much-needed nutrition while also creating an incentive for both students and parents to keep up regular attendance. Some programs include a take-home ration, targeted specifically at improving the attendance of girls. In exchange for an 80-percent attendance rate for one month, for example, students are able to take home a jug of vegetable oil to their family. Students also often share the nutrition information they learn at school with family members, helping to improve the nutritional value of meals made at home.

Earlier this year, the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), in partnership with the WFP and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) program. HGSF, modeled in part after programs developed by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), works with governments to develop and implement school feeding programs, improving the diets and education of students while also creating jobs and supporting local agriculture.

Starting with five countries that were either already running school food programs or had demonstrated an interest in them and a capacity for implementation--including Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, and Ghana--HGSF hopes to create a bigger market for rural farmers through demand created by purchasing only locally grown and processed food for school meals.

"The definition of `local' varies from country to country," says Kristie Neeser, program coordinator at PCD. "Some schools keep their food purchasing within the local community and some keep their purchasing within the country. But what is most important is creating that relationship between the farmers and the government program."

To best facilitate links between farmers and governments, HGSF works closely with the ministries of education to develop programs that will suit local needs and customs. In Ghana, for example, markets are run by "market queens," women who purchase vegetables from farmers and then sell them to commercial buyers at markets. To avoid disrupting this system, HGSF works to incorporate the market queens with Ghana's school purchasing process, instead of attempting to deal directly with the farmers, as programs in other countries often do.

Ultimately, HGSF hopes to work with 10 countries, transitioning each program to being fully government owned, funded, and implemented--creating a permanent safety net for school children and a dependable demand for local, small-scale, farmer-sourced produce.

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Innovation of the Week: School Feeding Programs Improve Livelihoods, Diets, and Local Economies

Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

In many parts sub-Saharan Africa, 60 percent of children come to school in the morning without breakfast, if they attend school at all. Many suffer from health and developmental problems, including stunted growth. Exhausted from hunger and poor nutrition, they often have trouble paying attention and learning during class.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals for about 20 million children in Africa. While some national governments, including in Côte d'Ivoire, have provided school meals for decades, the food, fuel, and financial crises of 2007-08 highlighted the role that school nutrition programs can play in not only improving education, health, and nutrition, but also providing a safety net for children living in poverty. For some children, these programs provide the only real meal of the day.

Improved school menus provide students with much-needed nutrition while also creating an incentive for both students and parents to keep up regular attendance. Some programs include a take-home ration, targeted specifically at improving the attendance of girls. In exchange for an 80-percent attendance rate for one month, for example, students are able to take home a jug of vegetable oil to their family. Students also often share the nutrition information they learn at school with family members, helping to improve the nutritional value of meals made at home.

Earlier this year, the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), in partnership with the WFP and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) program. HGSF, modeled in part after programs developed by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), works with governments to develop and implement school feeding programs, improving the diets and education of students while also creating jobs and supporting local agriculture.

Starting with five countries that were either already running school food programs or had demonstrated an interest in them and a capacity for implementation--including Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, and Ghana--HGSF hopes to create a bigger market for rural farmers through demand created by purchasing only locally grown and processed food for school meals.

"The definition of `local' varies from country to country," says Kristie Neeser, program coordinator at PCD. "Some schools keep their food purchasing within the local community and some keep their purchasing within the country. But what is most important is creating that relationship between the farmers and the government program."

To best facilitate links between farmers and governments, HGSF works closely with the ministries of education to develop programs that will suit local needs and customs. In Ghana, for example, markets are run by "market queens," women who purchase vegetables from farmers and then sell them to commercial buyers at markets. To avoid disrupting this system, HGSF works to incorporate the market queens with Ghana's school purchasing process, instead of attempting to deal directly with the farmers, as programs in other countries often do.

Ultimately, HGSF hopes to work with 10 countries, transitioning each program to being fully government owned, funded, and implemented--creating a permanent safety net for school children and a dependable demand for local, small-scale, farmer-sourced produce.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy our diary every day we invite you to get involved:

  1. Comment on our daily posts-we check comments everyday and look forward to a regular ongoing discussion with you.
  2. Receive weekly updates-Sign up for our "Nourishing the Planet" weekly newsletter at the blog by clicking here and receive regular blog and travel updates.

 

 

Innovation of the Week: School Feeding Programs Improve Livelihoods, Diets, and Local Economies

Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

In many parts sub-Saharan Africa, 60 percent of children come to school in the morning without breakfast, if they attend school at all. Many suffer from health and developmental problems, including stunted growth. Exhausted from hunger and poor nutrition, they often have trouble paying attention and learning during class.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals for about 20 million children in Africa. While some national governments, including in Côte d'Ivoire, have provided school meals for decades, the food, fuel, and financial crises of 2007-08 highlighted the role that school nutrition programs can play in not only improving education, health, and nutrition, but also providing a safety net for children living in poverty. For some children, these programs provide the only real meal of the day.

Improved school menus provide students with much-needed nutrition while also creating an incentive for both students and parents to keep up regular attendance. Some programs include a take-home ration, targeted specifically at improving the attendance of girls. In exchange for an 80-percent attendance rate for one month, for example, students are able to take home a jug of vegetable oil to their family. Students also often share the nutrition information they learn at school with family members, helping to improve the nutritional value of meals made at home.

Earlier this year, the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), in partnership with the WFP and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) program. HGSF, modeled in part after programs developed by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), works with governments to develop and implement school feeding programs, improving the diets and education of students while also creating jobs and supporting local agriculture.

Starting with five countries that were either already running school food programs or had demonstrated an interest in them and a capacity for implementation--including Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, and Ghana--HGSF hopes to create a bigger market for rural farmers through demand created by purchasing only locally grown and processed food for school meals.

"The definition of `local' varies from country to country," says Kristie Neeser, program coordinator at PCD. "Some schools keep their food purchasing within the local community and some keep their purchasing within the country. But what is most important is creating that relationship between the farmers and the government program."

To best facilitate links between farmers and governments, HGSF works closely with the ministries of education to develop programs that will suit local needs and customs. In Ghana, for example, markets are run by "market queens," women who purchase vegetables from farmers and then sell them to commercial buyers at markets. To avoid disrupting this system, HGSF works to incorporate the market queens with Ghana's school purchasing process, instead of attempting to deal directly with the farmers, as programs in other countries often do.

Ultimately, HGSF hopes to work with 10 countries, transitioning each program to being fully government owned, funded, and implemented--creating a permanent safety net for school children and a dependable demand for local, small-scale, farmer-sourced produce.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy our diary every day we invite you to get involved:

  1. Comment on our daily posts-we check comments everyday and look forward to a regular ongoing discussion with you.
  2. Receive weekly updates-Sign up for our "Nourishing the Planet" weekly newsletter at the blog by clicking here and receive regular blog and travel updates.

 

 

Innovation of the Week: School Feeding Programs Improve Livelihoods, Diets, and Local Economies

Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

In many parts sub-Saharan Africa, 60 percent of children come to school in the morning without breakfast, if they attend school at all. Many suffer from health and developmental problems, including stunted growth. Exhausted from hunger and poor nutrition, they often have trouble paying attention and learning during class.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals for about 20 million children in Africa. While some national governments, including in Côte d'Ivoire, have provided school meals for decades, the food, fuel, and financial crises of 2007-08 highlighted the role that school nutrition programs can play in not only improving education, health, and nutrition, but also providing a safety net for children living in poverty. For some children, these programs provide the only real meal of the day.

Improved school menus provide students with much-needed nutrition while also creating an incentive for both students and parents to keep up regular attendance. Some programs include a take-home ration, targeted specifically at improving the attendance of girls. In exchange for an 80-percent attendance rate for one month, for example, students are able to take home a jug of vegetable oil to their family. Students also often share the nutrition information they learn at school with family members, helping to improve the nutritional value of meals made at home.

Earlier this year, the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), in partnership with the WFP and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) program. HGSF, modeled in part after programs developed by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), works with governments to develop and implement school feeding programs, improving the diets and education of students while also creating jobs and supporting local agriculture.

Starting with five countries that were either already running school food programs or had demonstrated an interest in them and a capacity for implementation--including Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, and Ghana--HGSF hopes to create a bigger market for rural farmers through demand created by purchasing only locally grown and processed food for school meals.

"The definition of `local' varies from country to country," says Kristie Neeser, program coordinator at PCD. "Some schools keep their food purchasing within the local community and some keep their purchasing within the country. But what is most important is creating that relationship between the farmers and the government program."

To best facilitate links between farmers and governments, HGSF works closely with the ministries of education to develop programs that will suit local needs and customs. In Ghana, for example, markets are run by "market queens," women who purchase vegetables from farmers and then sell them to commercial buyers at markets. To avoid disrupting this system, HGSF works to incorporate the market queens with Ghana's school purchasing process, instead of attempting to deal directly with the farmers, as programs in other countries often do.

Ultimately, HGSF hopes to work with 10 countries, transitioning each program to being fully government owned, funded, and implemented--creating a permanent safety net for school children and a dependable demand for local, small-scale, farmer-sourced produce.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy our diary every day we invite you to get involved:

  1. Comment on our daily posts-we check comments everyday and look forward to a regular ongoing discussion with you.
  2. Receive weekly updates-Sign up for our "Nourishing the Planet" weekly newsletter at the blog by clicking here and receive regular blog and travel updates.

 

 

East Africa by Land, Air, and Sea: Advice on Traveling on a Budget

We are going to try to write the article we wish we had been able to read before attempting to bus our way across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda (December 2009). Cross posted from Border Jumpers, Danielle Nierenberg and Bernard Pollack.

First things first: this will be one of the most worthwhile experiences of your life. Start by flying into Nairobi, Kenya (huge and somewhat affordable airport hub for international flights). More than 30 airlines service flights into Nairobi Embakasi Airport including British Airways, EgyptAir, Emirates, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and tons of others.

Take your time to enjoy Kenya. People will put the fear of god into you that you are unsafe in Nairobi (they call it "Nairobbery")-but just ignore the hype and check out this amazing city full of incredible food, nightlife, and energy. We traveled all over the country but an especially worthy stop is El Doret (it is on route to Kampala, Uganda) where tea is produced in fields that stretch as far as they eye can see.

We took Kampala Coaches from Nairobi to Arusha, Tanzania. We hated the bus company so much that we wrote a blog about them. Not much competition, even Scandinavia Express discontinued this international route. A spin-off from Kamapala Coaches was in the works and might be a good option, but if Kampala Coaches is your only choice, don't take it all the way to Dar es Salaam. We suggest you go halfway to Arusha and switch companies.

Arusha is a tourist trap. You will be harassed from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. With that said it is a great place to launch a 4-day trek at Mt. Kilimanjaro with loads of Safari providers. Make sure you stop by The Patisserie (near the clock tower) for the best chocolate croissants on the continent and hi-speed wi-fi. For budget hotel options we recommend "the Tourist Hotel" (pretty central, $30 USD/night for a double with TV, and a affordable restaurant and bar in the lobby-especially good for vegetarians). Skip the Arusha Naaz hotel, despite what Lonely Planet says.

To get from Arusha to Dar Es Salaam use the bus company "Dar Express" which provides a safe, reliable, air-conditioned bus service. Just a warning: on the buses we took they played Christian videos the entire way, but feeling confident your bags are traveling with you makes up for the attempted "conversion"

When you are in Dar es Salaam, stay at the Jambo Inn Hotel (about 30USD a night for a double with air-con, hot water, and cable TV). The hotel is in a safe, functional area with lots of restaurants, internet cafes, and local shopping.

From Dar Es Salaam you can head to Zanzibar. It is a truly magical place . Stay in Stone Town and pay 12pp for the terrific value "spice tour". Just ask a taxi to take you to the public beaches, no need to shell out for a tour. We spent 20USD night and stayed at the Jambo Guest House, a very basic but clean hotel in walking distances to everything. Tip on the ferry to Zanzibar- it is worth it to pay a little extra for the VIP tickets-especially for those who might get sea-sick. The ride is only ninety minutes, but felt like a lot more. Don't let this deter you, the ocean and sunsets are well-worth the bumpy boat ride

Best way to travel by bus (and the only way) to Kampala, Uganda is via Nairobi. You can take the Dar Express to Arusha and find a bus company that heads to Kampala via Nairobi. Try to arrive in Nairobi during daylight hours. Alternatively, Precision Air flies cheap from Kilamanjaro (an hour bus from Arusha) to Kampala and might be worth the splurge. Precision Air has an office by the clock tower in Arusha.

Kampala is a terrific place. We recommend staying at the Aponye Hotel at approx 30 USD per night with great showers, air-conditioning, and a great central location (you can walk to restaurants, markets, etc). Ironically some of the best Indian food we've ever had was at a restaurant in the Kampala mall. If you go white-water rafting at the source of the Nile, Adrift is a reliable, safe company. While expensive (we had to give it a pass), everyone we met that went Gorilla trekking and said that it was worth every penny.

In terms of busing from Kampala to Kigali, Rwanda, it is extremely safe. The best company we found was Starways and the service is reliable, reasonably clean, safe, and air-conditioned. Many other companies use this route, again, try to avoid Kampala Coaches.

When you get to Kigali, spend a day at the Genocide Museum. It will be an unforgettable experience. You can sometimes catch an affordable flight from there to Nairobi. Keep in mind that Rwanda and Kenya are more expensive than Tanzania and Uganda. Kigali has few solid budget hotel accommodations (and none that we can personally recommend). If using Lonely Planet's Africa book, add approx 50 percent to all listed prices for Kigali.

So, are you ready to rock Eastern Africa by land, air, and sea?! People will think you are crazy but the experience is fun, rugged, and totally unforgettable!

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy our diary every day we invite you to get involved:
1. Comment on our daily posts -- we check for comments everyday and want to have a regular ongoing discussion with you.
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3. Help keep our research going--If you know of any great projects or contacts in West Africa please connect us connect us by emailing, commenting or sending us a message on facebook.

 

 

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