Poor nutrition affect education



Education authorities in Mzimba have said hunger and malnutrition continue to negatively affect attainment of quality education, especially in primary schools.

They have since stressed on the need for the country to emphasise nutrition in primary schools, saying hunger and nutrition-related illnesses widely contribute to high dropout rates and repletion among learners.


The observation was made during the official ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of kitchens and warehouses for 150 primary schools across the country under the Nutrition and Access to Primary Education project.

Mzimba South District Education Manager, Fanwel Chiwowa, said the project has taught communities how to prepare a variety of foods for health in an effort to promote a productive school environment.

“It is a fact that when children do not have food or have health issues pertaining to poor nutrition, their concentration in class goes down. So relatively high enrollment due to free primary education seems to be making no meaningful gains if learners drop along the way due to the issues highlighted,” Chiwowa said.


He then hailed the project, saying in schools where it is being implemented, learners’ retention has gone up.

EU’s Head of Delegation to Malawi, Lluis Navarro, said, with local participation, the provision of meals to all pupils can help to improve the nutrition status of the country.

He said that through the project, it has been established that increasing the availability of high-quality food in schools can reduce malnutrition among learners, thereby tackling high dropout rates.

“It is really encouraging to see children getting meals at school and we have seen the school enrollment increasing because learners now know that they will get nutritious food when they go to school,” Navarro said.

He then reaffirmed EU’s commitment to construction of more storerooms and kitchens to facilitate the provision of healthy meals and ensure that children receive the necessary nutritional support while in school.

The project, which is being co-funded by the EU and GIZ, is being implemented in 150 primary schools across the country in Chitipa, Mzuzu, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Mulanje, Kasungu and Nkhata Bay.

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