The group experienced firsthand the Brazilian food security context in order to gain in-depth understanding of the key processes involved in designing a sustainable school meals programme with links to rural development. It was an important step in supporting the Malawi government to develop its own national school feeding programme. The delegation was formed by the following government officials and WFP staff members:
• Mr. Charles Mazinga, Deputy Director School Health, Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology;
• Ms. Chikondano Mussa, Deputy Director for Basic Education, Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology;
• Ms Florence Kasiya, District School Health and Nutrition Coordinator, Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology;
• Ms Stella Kamwamba, Director of Extension Services, Malawi Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development;
• Mr Loyce Chilimsungwi, Malawi Ministry of Finance and Development Planning;
• Mr. Abdoulaye Diop, Country Director, WFP Malawi;
• Mr. Baton Osmani, Deputy Country Director, WFP Malawi;
• Mr. Martin Mphangwe, Responsible for School Feeding WFP Malawi;
• Mr. Philippe Degernier, Regional Programme Adviser, WFP Regional Office for Southern Africa.
They were received by representatives of different Brazilian government and non-government institutions. The Brazilian National Supply Company (CONAB), the Ministry of Agrarian Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (CONSEA) were among the institutions that received the delegation. The meetings were an important platform for knowledge sharing on school feeding and its intersections with food and nutrition security, smallholder agriculture and local development.
Field visits were carried out in two areas of the country which have similar agro-ecological features to Malawi: the Federal District and the ´Reconcavo´ area of thestate of Bahia. Visits to schools, family farmers, cooperatives and other local stakeholders were organised with the aim to provide inside knowledge of relevant programme implementation. This was an important opportunity to learn about major Brazilian initiatives that link smallholder agriculture with provision of food assistance. They included the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA), the National Programme for Strengthening Family Farming (PRONAF), and EMBRAPA´s (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) research experience with cassava and fruits.
An action plan to develop the Malawi government school feeding programme and related initiatives was drafted by the delegation as a result of this learning experience. Highlights of the plan were the preparation of a school feeding law by a future inter-sectoral core team, the strengthening of government´s financial capacity and institutional framework as well as improvement of infrastructure, nutrition services, procurement mechanisms, and agriculture support actions. The plan will serve as an important tool for continuing collaboration between the government of Malawi, the government of Brazil, the World Food Programme and its Centre of Excellence against Hunger.