The World Food Program (WFP) says it remains committed to compliment government efforts to end hunger in schools through supporting the school feeding program and the provision of safe drinking water to young learners.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the school feeding program in the perennially dry region of Zvishavane District at Matenda Primary School, WFP country director Eddie Rowe said while it is important that school children have access to the food they need at home, and have access to nutritious and healthy meals during the school day.
Rowe said such initiatives can help keep students in school, as they have previously dropped out due to hunger caused by the El Nino induced drought which hit the country during the 2016/16 summer cropping season.
“School meals act as an effective safety net, which not only prevent children from going hungry in the classroom, but also act as a tool for transformation, ensuring that every child has access to education, health and nutrition – a task made all the more difficult during times of drought and food shortages.
“When a meal is promised at school, children are more likely to attend class; their nutritional status is improved; and their future becomes a bit brighter,” said Rowe.
WFP donated 11 boreholes to schools within the district as part of promoting access to safe water and sanitation, and sound management of freshwater ecosystems.
His sentiments were echoed by Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Lazarus Dokora who said the school feeding scheme as well as the provision of clean and safe water were among his ministry’s the top priorities and are among key deliverables in the current Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2020.
Dokora underlined the importance of access to water in the community, which he said can be used to start small self-sustenance irrigation projects which will in turn reduce hunger in the area.
“The donation of the boreholes will bring a positive impact to these schools, their communities and the district at large. The garden and boreholes will go a long way in providing the stimuli to kick start a number of projects,”
WFP and the government are complimenting each other in realising the Sustainable Development Goal number two which aims to end hunger by 2030.
The government , through its ZimAsset program’s cluster on value addition and beneficiation encourages communities to be self-sustainable in an effort to desist from government’s hand-outs