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The First Year of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger

Article about South-South Cooperation in School Feeding, Nutrition and Food Security Programmes, prepared by Christiani Buani & Nadia Tavares Goodman(1)

In November 2011, the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger was officially launched in Brazil. The Centre is a global hub for policy dialogue and South-South learning in school feeding, nutrition and food security programmes. The Centre, a partnership between WFP and the Brazilian government, was created to support governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America in developing sustainable solutions against hunger. The WFP Centre is focusing initially, but not exclusively, on 18 priority countries in these regions for 2011/2012: East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Laos, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Zambia, Bangladesh, Cotê d’Ivoire, Niger and Zimbabwe.

The Centre provides policy advice, technical assistance, learning opportunities and global knowledge platform that brings southern nations together and helps them develop their own programmes, may it be through sustainable school feeding or food acquisition programmes.  The success of Brazilian experience in poverty reduction and food security over the last ten years have generated a global interest, specifically in the ‘know-how’ of establishing legal, institutional and financial mechanisms to support successful strategies in the fight against hunger.

WFP Staff member posing with two kidsThe Brazilian School Feeding Programme (PNAE) is a component of the multi-faceted Zero Hunger strategy, which is firmly founded on the concept of ‘Right to Adequate and Healthy Nutrition’ and explicitly recognized in the Brazilian Constitution. The Brazilian School Feeding Programme (PNAE) started in 1955 and is the second largest school feeding programme in the world. It transfers financial resources at local level providing school feeding to all students from all levels enrolled in public and philanthropic schools. The objective is to attend the nutritional needs of the students in the schools contributing to the children’s development and improving the student’s participation in the classrooms. In addition, the programme aims to enhance the knowledge of the children and their parents about the value of nutritious food.

The food acquisition programme (PAA) helps the fight against hunger and at the same time strengthens family farming. It uses of market tools, where the government directly purchases food products from the family farmers and donates them to needy social organizations such as orphanages, charity, hospitals or contributes to the pre-positioning of emergency stocks for adverse times. These actions seek to promote rural economic inclusive growth, food security and increase the access to quality food over all.

Delegations involved in the study visits are multi-sector, coming from the main stakeholder ministries in government

Young girl eating from a bowl: education, agriculture, health, planning, finance and/or budget. The rationale is to promote multi ministerial approach to food security and the development of national programmes, through policy dialogue and capacity building activities. Study visits are one of the primarily tools that the WFP Centre is using to share the Brazilian experience in food security policy  and strategy, as well as the promotion of sustainable school feeding programmes linked to family agriculture. Follow up to the study visits is directly linked to governments’ requests included in the Action Plan, document resulted from the study visits. 

As follow up activities, workshops can be prepared jointly with government and WFP CO to promote a
participatory process inwhich the construction of a national school feeding programme is integrated in broader initiatives of food and nutrition security as well as of fight against hunger and poverty. This workshop can be organized at different moments of the long term cooperation process involving the Centre, depending on the countries’ needs and requests.

Increasing policy dialogue with different partners in school feeding, food security and south–south cooperation is on the Centre’s priority list. The Centre’s activities are a significant example of South–South dialogue and exchange of experiences and have been able to shift the perception of the promotion of sustainable school feeding programmes worldwide and the governments’ commitment to engage in such initiatives.

The table below shows the countries which visited Brazil and had the follow-up visits facilitated by the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger during 2011-2012

Visited Countries

Follow up post-visited Countries

PAA Africa Programme  (join strategy WFP, FAO and Brazilian Government)

East Timor, Mali, Guinea Bissau, technical delegation of Malawi, Rwanda, Niger, Guinea Conakry, Mexico, Ghana, High Level Delegation of Malawi, Haiti and Senegal, Bangladesh and Congo *

Mozambique, Rwanda, Guinea Conakry and Malawi

Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Ethiopia and Niger**




*Since its official launch in November 2011 (14 study visits were organized)

** Purchase from Africans for Africa Programme

Christiani Buani is a Programme Officer at the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger and a doctorate student at UNICEUB/Université d’Orléans in international law.
Nadia Tavares Goodman is a Programme Consultant at the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger and holds a PhD on Urban Planning from the Oxford Brookes University, UK.