Why you shouldn’t allow your child to stay hungry for long at home, school

SOME analysts argue that children who do not get proper feeding both at home and schools are likely to perform badly and may also be at risk of being tempted to be involved in bad company.

“A hungry child cannot concentrate on his/her studies, and to make it worse, the child can become a thief,” a psychologist, Fatma Ali says.

She says despite poverty in many homes, particularly in villages, paying great attention to child feeding is important, because it will help to have a healthy nation and people with morals.

It is behind this argument that Ms Sarah Gordon-Gibson, Country Director and Representative of the World Food Program (WFP), also stated that School Feeding Programmes (SFPs) play a critical role in enhancing education and nutrition outcomes helping the country accelerate its human capital development agenda.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Zanzibar School Feeding Guidelines, Home-Grown School Feeding Strategy, School Feeding Census and Mapping’ recently in Zanzibar, she specifically underlined that SFPs contribute to increasing school enrolment by nine percent and attendance by ten per cent.

“According to research, it also promotes gender equality, helping to attract and keep girls in school, and in addition, they increase diet diversity, help to reduce anaemia especially among school girls by 20 per cent,” she explained.

Further, she said Home-Grown School Feeding Programmes support agriculture, markets and boost local economies through the creation of about 1,700 jobs per 100,000 school children fed.

The WFP Country Director and Representative said these statistics among many others, highlight the importance of school feeding programmes not only for children, but for entire communities.

She emphasised that investing in children “Is one of the best investments we can make in the future of a country, provision of nutritious school meals and complementary interventions is one of the best ways to achieve this.”

Ms Sarah commended the Isles Ministry of Education and Vocational Training for leading the development of the Home-Grown School Feeding Strategy and implementing Home-Grown School Feeding Programme since 2014.

She said that the findings of the school feeding census and the Home-Grown School Feeding Strategy which was launched last November will help to further strengthen the programme and promised that WFP will be happy to continue working with the Ministry on the next steps.

“We look forward to supporting the development of an action plan for the School Feeding Guidelines to guide its implementation and to fast track progress towards a resilient and healthy population and strengthen the local economy,” she further gave promising remarks.

ZANZIBAR Deputy Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Mr Ali Abdulghulam Hussein (middle) and Ms Sarah Gordon-Gibson, Country Director and Representative of the World Food Programme (on his left) and other senior officers at the launch of ‘School Feeding Programmes (SFPs)’ in Zanzibar last year.(file photo)

According to Sarah, WFP in Tanzania is implementing a five-year Country Strategic Plan (CSP, 2022-2027) by supporting government’s efforts to deliver equitable and inclusive economic growth for the people of the United Republic of Tanzania through investments in human capital, resilient livelihoods and nutritious diets.

One of the key priorities WFP has been working on together with the government and stakeholders is enhancing the design, implementation and monitoring of sustainable school feeding programme.

“We may ask why the emphasis on school feeding? School Feeding Programmes are cost-effective investments yielding USD 9 in return for every USD 1 invested,” she said.

She highlighted “This is aimed at positioning school feeding programme as a high-return investment and an enabler of Tanzania’s food systems transformation. In 2021, as part of the United Nations Food System Summit, the country identified school feeding programme as one of the six pathways for sustainable food systems transformation through dialogues conducted in Zanzibar and Mainland.”

WFP and the Ministry of Education embarked on a partnership in November 2022, to help define a framework for designing, implementing and monitoring school feeding in Zanzibar, “I congratulate the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, all government and non-government stakeholders for development of the Zanzibar School Feeding Guidelines.”

This is a significant achievement towards sustainable school feeding programme in Zanzibar as the Guidelines provide the framework for delivery of quality school meals and other complementary school health interventions for pre-primary, primary and secondary students and are aligned to the Southern African Development Community School Feeding Guidelines.

The WFP senior Officer said her office, together with Zanzibar’s Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Mainland conducted the School Feeding Census and Mapping covering all public pre-primary and primary schools in the country to understand the state of school feeding and other school-related indicators.

The Zanzibar Deputy Minister of Education and Vocational Training (MEVT), Mr Ali Abdulgulam Hussein graced the event and thanked WFP for enabling the establishment of the guideline, the ‘Table-for-Two International (TfTI) for the funding the schools feeding programme.

“Stakeholders should join in to support this important program, which has multiple benefits in education,” he said, mentioning some of the key benefits as motivating students’ attendance and enrollment, promote healthy eating and encourage farmers in respective areas to increase production.

Mr Hussein explained that the programmes began in Zanzibar in 2014 with six schools and extended to 36 schools until September 2023 with 20,807 students benefiting, but the “The target is to provide food in at least 50 schools by the year 2025.”

Ms Fatma Ramadhani, Director, department of pre-primary and primary school in the Ministry, is the one responsible for the school feeding guideline, which contains sections that guides teachers and school staff on the required type of meals for children at schools and also encouraging frequent physical exercise.

The Principal Secretary- MEVT Mr Khamis Abdalla Said used the opportunity to inform the gathering that the government is now implementing serious education reforms to improve education and that the school feeding program guidelines is a boost in the reform agenda.

Related Articles

Back to top button