Namibia has joined the rest of Africa in observing the African Day of School Feeding, which is held to heighten the importance of investing in school feeding programmes.
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in a statement on Thursday said the eighth continental African Day of School Feeding was hosted by Ethiopia from 28 February to 01 March under the theme ‘Boosting Local Food Procurement Systems and Regional Value Chains.’
The ministry invested N.dollars 89 182 912 in buying maize blend for 461 829 students in 1 514 schools across the country in the 2022/2023 financial year.
The school feeding programme, carried out in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), is intended to alleviate acute hunger and malnutrition, improve educational outcomes, and increase enrolment and retention rates.
The statement also said in 2021, the WFP in Namibia collaborated with the education ministry to pilot the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), a sub-programme of the NSFP that served 29 schools in seven regions of Namibia. Since then, the collaboration has invested N.dollars 2.7 million in the programme.
The ministry has allocated an additional N.dollars 5 million for the programme for the current financial year.
The HGSFP provides a balanced and varied diet using food obtained locally from smallholder farmers and served with a fortified maize blend. It boosts agricultural output, offers smallholder farmers and traders a reliable source of income, boosts the regional economy, and reduces poverty.
The feeding programme is currently limited to primary and combined schools.
The statement further said the African Day of School Feeding continental commemoration is held to heighten the importance of investing in school feeding programmes, giving due consideration to backlogs created by the colliding education, food and climate crises impacting Africa’s children.
In order to raise awareness about school feeding, assess progress made, and mobilise political support for pro-school feeding policies, programmes and resources, the ADSF also serves as a gathering place for stakeholders from the public, private, civil society, and multilateral sectors.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency