Badre Bahaji – UN World Food Programme
The European Union has allocated €16 million (MK 15 billion) to scale up school feeding programmes in Malawi. This allocation is coming under the Afikepo programme – which in Chichewa means “Let the children develop to their full potential”. This will allow 280,000 pupils to benefit from school meals in 200 primary schools in the districts of Chikwawa, Nsanje, Phalombe and Zomba in Malawi’s Southern region.
The Tsogolo la Thanzi (“Healthy Future” in Chichewa) Programme aims to contribute to improving the nutritional status of children and to increasing income opportunities of the surrounding communities. The farmers will also benefit from capacity development interventions in production, post-harvest handling and marketing knowledge and skills. The World Food Programme (WFP), which has a longstanding partnership with the Government of Malawi on school feeding programmes, will implement the programme.
“Since our cooperative started working with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the school, I sold my produce in high volumes and make extra money. I am now able to provide for my family and pay school fees for my four children,” says Doreen Biziwick who sold food to Nalingula school in Phalombe. Smallholder farmers in the surrounding communities will be the principal suppliers of the food, contributing also to support the local economy.
Delivering school meals at doorsteps: A relief for children in the times of Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated preventive measures adversely impacted the scale-up plans for Home-Grown School Feeding, with school closures and prevention measures halting all school feeding programmes across the country.
“I miss school and my friends. I also miss the school breakfast,” says Godfrey Chimala, 10-year old learner at Nyambwe Primary school in Zomba district, in the south of Malawi.
WFP has therefore worked with the Government for the adaptation of school feeding in the form of take-home support which parents receive for their children in cash or in-kind. During distributions WFP and its partners have put in place several precaution measures like handwashing and use of personal protective equipment for staff and sensitized parents on COVID-19 prevention measures.
“When school was open, my children would happily go to school knowing they would eat breakfast there – for they love the morning porridge,” says Joyce Neleche, a single mother of 5 children in Phalombe District. “The food I have received is helping us a lot, as I am now able to cook porridge for my children in the morning.”
The take-home rations are benefiting about 600,000 children with critical nutrition intake as they wait to return to classrooms. WFP is grateful to the European Union for their financial support and to the Government of Malawi for their leadership in making these distributions possible for children in need.