African Union and Brazil exchange experiences in school feeding

The Brazilian school feeding programme provides nutritious meals to around 43 million children. Photo: WFP/Carolina Montenegro

The Brazilian school feeding programme provides nutritious meals to around 43 million children. Photo: WFP/Carolina Montenegro

WFP CEAH | 21 August 2015 – A high-level delegation of members of the African Union, entity that congregates 54 African countries, will be in Brazil from 22 to 30 August to see first-hand the Brazilian National School Feeding Programme. They will be accompanied by representatives of African country governments to participate in a study visit organized by the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, the WFP African Union, and the WFP Niger.

Participants will discuss the strategies Brazil has adopted to link school feeding to smallholder farming, in order to advocate for home-grown school feeding as a key social safety net programme and an important mechanism to promote local development and to advance in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The delegation will be led by H.E. Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology of the African Union. He has committed to working together with the ministers of education of Niger and Cameroun and with the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union to ensure that school feeding will be discussed at the Union’s Specialized Technical Committee on Education in October 2015.

During the meeting in October, they expect to reach agreement on a resolution that recognizes home-grown school feeding as crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This resolution will be presented to the African chiefs of state at the next African Union Summit, in January 2016.

The African Union has pledged to reach zero hunger by 2025, as part of the Malabo Declaration.

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The visit to Brazil will provide relevant information on the challenges, lessons learned, strategies and innovations involved in the Brazilian strategies to overcome hunger and poverty, including the Zero Hunger Strategy and the school feeding programme. The Brazilian school feeding programme provides nutritious meals to around 43 million students in all public schools on a daily basis. It also invests 30 percent of its budget in purchasing food items from smallholder farmers, which has significant impacts on local economies and on the families’ food and nutritional security.

The delegation, composed by ministers of Education, Agriculture, and Finance, will see how the Brazilian school feeding programme is structured and funded, and will visit schools and smallholder farmers, to fully understand the many aspects involved in the implementation of the programme. At the end of the visit, participants will prepare a technical note with inputs for the October Specialized Technical Committee on Education’s meeting.