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Centre of Excellence against Hunger News

News from the Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

On 12 December, after many months of mobilization, the São Paulo City Hall awarded six school of the municipality with Education Beyond the Plate Award. Organized by the Department of School Feeding of the Municipal Secretariat of Education, the award aimed at recognizing the role of school cooks and mobilized the school community around healthy food. 

All schools in the municipality were invited to present their projects to mobilize students, teachers, employees, and parents, and an innovative recipe based on the use of fruits and vegetables. The award had two categories: hot dishes and cold dishes. A total of 300 schools presented projects, including three indigenous schools. After the analysis of the mobilization processes and the recipes, 26 finalists were selected, two from each of the 13 regions of the city.

The Centre of Excellence against Hunger partnered with São Paulo municipality to realize this award to carry out the award and offer the winners a trip to participate in an international seminar on school feeding in a country in Africa. The winners in the categories hot dish and cold dish will have the opportunity to share their initiatives with other countries and to get to know other school feeding experiences. Schools that were second place in each category will attend a study visit organized by the Centre in Brazil. 

The 26 finalists’ recipes will be part of a book of school meal recipes and will enter the official menu of the municipality. All schools classified from first to third place in both categories will win a renovation project for the creation of a space for school feeding and health. 

Erika Fischer, director of the Department of School Feeding, said during the ceremony that “this initiative promotes the union among actors of the educational community that are not always together: students, families, teachers, and school cooks”. She also highlighted that all 26 finalists school cooks participated in a course of gastronomic techniques, offered by the National Commerce Social Service, one of the most traditional cooking schools in Brazil.

Exchange of experiences

The mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, attended the award ceremony along with representatives of the 26 finalist schools. In his speech, the mayor talked about the importance of school feeding: “everyday Brazil feeds 43 million students at school. Every student in Brazil receives school feeding, and this is a very recent accomplishment in our country”. Referring to the director of the Centre of Excellence against Hunger, Daniel Balaban, Haddad also said: “the impact of it is so positive that the UN invited the former president of the National Fund for the Development of Education to take our social technology to the rest of the world.”

O designer do troféu do prêmio Augusto Miranda e sua mãe, Ana Miranda.
Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira

The first-lady of São Paulo, Ana Estela Haddad, coordinator of an initiative to improve wellbeing of children in the municipality, and the municipal secretary of Education, César Callegari, also attended the event. Callegari said that “taking the school cooks to an international trip to help countries that still need to advance in assuring quality food for everyone is the best tribute we can pay to them”. 

The São Paulo City Hall invited two local designers to prepare the award trophies, big plates decorated with beautiful illustrations. André Gola and Augusto Miranda prepared three different drawings each, for the first, second, and third places in the two award categories. During the award ceremony, Augusto Miranda told that when he received the invitation to illustrate the plates he didn’t hesitate: “in one way or the other, all of my family worked in the field of education, but my true inspiration was my mom, who used to be a school cook”. Obviously, Ana Miranda, mother of Augusto, was also at the award ceremony to see her son shines.

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger partnered with São Paulo municipality to organize the Education Beyond the Plate Award aimed at recognizing the role of school cooks and healthy food. From 300 schools, 6 were selected as winners. They won a trip to participate in an international seminar on school feeding in a country in Africa. 

The Gambia became a stage for debates about social protection strategies from 2 to 4 December, when three different events took place in Banjul. The government of The Gambia organized an event to validate the country’s National School Feeding Action Plan, and held the Third National Consultative Forum on Social Protection. The country also hosted a technical workshop on how to build synergies in social protection programmes, for participants from Ethiopia, Brazil, Mozambique, Kenya, and The Gambia.

In 2012, WFP and the government of The Gambia reached a common agreement on a transition from a donor-supported towards a fully nationally owned school feeding programme, by 2020. The government requested support from the Brazilian government and the WFP Centre of Excellence to implement the country’s strategies to establish the foundation for this programme. 

The process is underway for the development of a National School Feeding Policy, led by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. Initiatives such as the development of regional capacities for school feeding management, the establishment of school gardens in over 100 schools, and the mobilization of resources are already happening, and a local procurement feasibility study was conducted nation-wide. 

A consultant did an independent assessment of the programme in November 2014, and based on the findings the School Feeding Action Plan was updated. To present this new action plan to relevant stakeholders, the government of The Gambia organized a meeting on 2 December, when participants agreed on the priorities for 2014 to 2016 and discussed the technical assistance to the National School Feeding Programme by the WFP Centre of Excellence during the transition process. Participants also validated the consolidated action plan.

Social Protection

The Third National Consultative Forum on Social Protection took place in 3 December, and the main theme was Social protection: making it work for families. The opening ceremony had the participation of The Gambia’s vice-president and minister of Women’s Affair, Dr. Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, the ministers of Health and Social Welfare, Finance and Economic Affairs, and Agriculture, and the Centre of Excellence’s head of programme, Christiani Buani.

In her keynote speech, the vice-president said that providing social protection is the ultimate goal of the government and its partners, especially for the most vulnerable families. She highlighted that social protection requires the government to establish more resilient and inclusive programmes and systems anchored on four key elements: poverty and risk reduction; inclusive growth and capacity building; human security as a basic right; and contribution to the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals.

Christiani Buani said that putting in place effective social protection systems with investments in safety nets have proved to be a crucial strategy to promote food and nutrition security and to fight hunger and poverty. She highlighted that south-south cooperation is a vital tool to promote the exchange of innovative solutions between countries that are building their paths towards sustainable development and stressed the commitment of the Centre to work together with these countries to build sustainable and nationally owned programmes and policies for social protection.

After presentations and debates on the status of the Gambian programmes and on the participation of civil society, participants made key recommendations. The recommendations include: the need for a new institutional arrangement and the creation of a ministry for social development, following Brazil’s example; the need for the creation of an inclusive social protection programme that contemplates persons with disabilities and living with HIV/AIDS; the focus on the most vulnerable populations; and the strengthening of institutional capacities of those in the frontline of social protection service delivery in the Gambia, especially the Department of Social Welfare.

South-south policy dialogue

On December 4, The Gambia hosted the first technical workshop of the Partnership for National Social Development Initiatives (PNSDI), a partnership between the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, DFID and the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS). The project aims to support the establishment of social development programmes to reduce poverty and hunger in developing countries through south-south cooperation.

The project works with five countries, and four of them were present at the workshop: the Gambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mozambique. Participants presented their social protection national strategies and discussed ways of creating synergies among programmes. They pointed out the mains challenges involved in bringing together social protection initiatives conducted by different governmental areas, such as agriculture, health, and education.

Another topic of discussion was the participation of non-governmental actors, their potential roles and the opportunities they create. Countries’ representatives also highlighted how the PNSDI project can support their ongoing processes of creating new approaches for social protection.

Brazil was represented in the event by the National Council of Food and Nutritional Security (CONSEA), the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, and the Centre of Excellence against Hunger. The WFP regional office for West Africa, UNICEF also sent representatives to the event. The next technical workshop will happen in March, 2015. 

 

Three events took place in The Gambia, from 2 to 4 December, to promote social protection. The country hold a meeting about the progress towards a National School Feeding Policy, a Third National Consultative Forum on Social Protection and a technical workshop on how to build synergies in social protection programmes. Participants from Brazil, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Kenya and The Gambia were present.

 

In Brasilia, the delegations held extensive meetings to discuss their Action Plans. In the exercise, the three countries talked about their impressions on the visit to Brazil.

Laos representatives said they were impressed by the Brazilian government political will and commitment to social programmes and policies. They also mentioned being impressed by the active Brazilian civil society. Regarding school feeding what caught their attention most was the legal and administrative framework in place and the nutrition aspect present in different levels of national policies. “Here we saw it is possible to connect school feeding and family farming. In Laos, we still need to strengthen the community capacity and to provide quality seeds and technical support for families”, said Sisomboun Ounavong, Deputy Director of Oudoumxay Provincial Education and Sports Services.

Cameroon delegation shared their good impressions about the fact that in Brazil school feeding and the right to food are constitutional rights and that Education is universal and free. “Now, our main goal is to ensure a national school feeding policy in Cameroon. If the government provides funds, we can move more freely than depending on international partners and donors”, said Georges Rigobert Okala, nutritionist of the Ministry of Health.

Zimbabwe representatives celebrated Brazil school feeding programme, especially because it is fully funded by the government at national scale. “In Zimbabwe school feeding is mostly funded by partners and we still have low access to credit by farmers”, stressed Nyadzayo Kateera, from the Ministry of Education.

Other points raised by the delegations as remarkable about Brazil were: the existence of qualified and dedicated personnel for the school feeding programme, from state to school level, who are paid; and the technical assistance given by governmental institutions to smallholder farmers.

“The support from the Centre starts now, you will discuss back home your Action Plan and decide where and when the Centre can work with you. Or not. The decision is yours, that is how we work. You know better than anybody does where you want to go. We cannot change the past, but the future we can start now”, said Daniel Balaban, director of the Centre of Excellence against Hunger, closing the study visit during a ceremony in Brasilia.

After one week in Salvador, the delegations of Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe went to Brasília to talk to government representatives and to improve their action plans.

After a week in Salvador, the delegations of Cameroon, Laos and Zimbabwe traveled to Brasilia to learn more about the Brazilian social policies and programmes in fighting hunger. The visit allied practice and theory to help the delegations build their Action Plans about food security and school feeding.

The three countries’ representatives were in Brazil for a two-week study visit organized by the WFP Centre of Excellence, to use Brazil social protection programmes as an inspiration towards wider South-South technical cooperation. Besides getting to know the Brazilian model, the countries could share experiences among themselves.

During the first day in Brasilia, meetings were held with several Brazilian government institutions. Representatives from ABC, CONAB, EMBRAPA and SESI gave lectures and technical orientation about programmes like Bolsa Família, PAA (Food Acquisition Programme) and PNAE (National School Feeding Programme).

The next days were a mix between field trips and meetings. First, the delegations visited the settlement of Chapadinha, in Sobradinho, Federal District. It is the first agro ecologic settlement created by rural reform in the region. Nowadays, the area holds 44 farms developing plantations without pesticides, integrated with animal farm and using inputs produced in the property itself. 

The smallholders’ farmers participate in the PAA, PNAE and PAPA-DF, the Federal District’s local food acquisition programme.

They sell their produce to the government and to the local market, in four fairs held every week. They plant organic fruits, vegetables and grains. Organic crops assured quality and a profit of at least 200 reais in each fair per family.

Maria Silva proudly shows the pepper plantation in her greenhouse

Photo: WFP/Carolina Montenegro

 

Technical assistance is provided to the farmers by Emater (Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company of the Federal District) on a regular basis. “The assistance helps the farmers to produce correctly from the start for a faster and better result”, said Ivan Marques De Castro, veterinarian at Emater.

Later, the delegations visited Ovídio and Maria Silva’s settlement, an eight hectares area where they plant banana, cassava, beans, peppers and tomatoes, among others. The family has been living in the area for 10 years and now their sons and daughters also plant in neighboring areas. “These plants are Maria’s life. She spends the day inside the greenhouses, when it rains or sometimes at night, she is also there”, told Ovídio.

Click here to see pictures of the Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe study visit.

The delegations from the three countries were in Brazil for a study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence as the first step on a cooperation process to assist their governments in developing and implementing new policies and programmes towards Zero Hunger

Delegations from Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe visited on Wednesday the State School Jesus Cristo, in the Pau de Lima neighborhood, a poor community in Salvador. The school was created 58 years ago and it teaches over 1,500 students, including in pre-school. 

“School feeding is key to the development of the mind and the body of children. Our kids are here since kindergarten precisely to avoid the risk of mental and intellectual development delay”, says Telma Barreto, vice-president of the school.

According to her, school feeding is also an additional attraction for the children to enroll in school and an extra social protection tool for the poor families. “With no school feeding, the scholar evasion index was high in Brazil. The families of Pau de Lima know that when their kids are studying here they are well fed”, explains Telma.

Community of Pau de Lima, in Salvador

Photo: WFP/Carolina Montenegro

 

The director of the school, Rosangela Santos Cardoso, highlights that there are still many challenges. “Violence outside of the school is still a problem. That is why we offer services of social workers and psychologists to the kids”, she says.

 “The students here know that the school has everything they need. Our priority is to include the poor children. Some of their parents are drug addicts, criminals. If these kids were not here, they would be living a marginal life”.

The delegations were at the school at lunchtime, visited the kitchen, talked to the cooks and even tasted the food. They also saw the meals at the school’s kindergarten, for kids 0 to 6 years of age, considered an essential period for the development of children.

The school is considered a model and it teaches 1,500 students from 0 to 17 years of age

After attending a seminar about the Brazilian social policies and programmes, the delegations of Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe traveled to the municipality of Irará, near Salvador, to visit smallholder farmers and schools and understand how the Brazilian programmes work and what impacts they have on people’s livelihoods. Representatives of the governments of the three countries are in Brazil for a study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence, as the first step of the technical cooperation the Centre is providing to improve their school feeding programmes and other initiatives to fight hunger.

In Irará, the group – also composed by staff members of the WFP country offices – was greated by the mayor, Derivaldo Pinto. “It is a great joy for us to receive you all here. Being able to contribute to African and Asian countries makes the municipality of Irará happy and more responsible towards food security. This exchange of experiences enhances Brazil’s own experience. We hope to be able to contribute and to be useful for the implementation of new policies in your countries”.

Daniel Balaban, director of the Centre of Excellence, was invited to speak to the public gathered at the municipality’s main square, next to an old cassava flour warehouse. Balaban said: “Thank you for this warm welcome. We want this to be only the first step of a lasting partnership. We know nothing can be done exclusively by the mayor, it takes the whole society working together for the wellbeing of all”.

The group visited a municipal kindergarten, for kids 0 to 6 years of age. The delegations could witness the children having lunch, visited the kindergarten’s kitchen, and talked to students, teachers and cooks about the procedures to buy, store, and prepare the school meals. They could also try the food and attest its quality. The weekly menu fixed on the school’s wall shows that meals are diverse, so it can fulfil the basic nutritional needs of children in the group of age covered by the school.

Smallholder farming and cassava

In the afternoon, participants were divided into two groups to visit two quilombo communities, formed by descendants of African slaves. The Tapera Melão community was created out of a love story. A white man, the abolitionist Zezé Martins, fell in love with a freed slave and started to donate part of his lands to former slaves. Today, the community of Tapera Melão has 446 dwellers, who produce cassava and sub-products and own a fruit processing plant.

Cooperative produces cookies and cakes out of cassava flour to sell in the local market and to schools

Photo: WFP/Carolina Montenegro

 

The other community visited was Candeal Moura, which has 125 families that live on family farming and cassava production. They use the cassava to produce flour with which they prepare cookies and cakes. Visitors went to the cookies production plant that belongs to a cooperative. They also visited the rural property of Mr. Nelson José de Jesus, who lived in Candeal his whole life and makes cassava cookies and cakes to sell in the local market and to the local school feeding programme. Participants tried the cassava juice, tasted coconut cake and tapioca, and visited the cassava flourmill.

The delegations were accompanied by members of the Programme-Policy Advisory Group (PPAG) of the World Food Programme, who are in Brazil for a meeting.

During their study visit to Brazil, delegations from Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe went on a field trip to the semiarid region to better understand the link between he Brazilian school feeding programme and smallholder farming

The president of the Brazil Africa Institute, João Bosco Monte, participated in the study visit organized by the Centre for delegations from Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe in Salvador. On Wednesday, the group visited the State School Jesus Cristo, in the community of Pau de Lima, to see in practice the Brazilian model of school feeding, and on Thursday they attended seminars on food security.

“When we bring these delegations to Brazil, they go back to Africa talking about successful experiences. If they are going to replicate what they see here is up to them, but in the future, it is going to be the Brazilian flag, the good impression about our country that we are helping to build in Africa in the long run”, says Monte.

The Brazil Africa Institute wants to join efforts with the Centre of Excellence to increase the dialogue among Brazil and countries of the African continent. “The capillarity we have in Africa may contribute to open up doors with local stakeholders”, says Monte.

Based in Fortaleza, Ceara state, the Institute is a non-profit organization created in 2013 to promote mutual interests of Brazil and African countries. To achieve that, the organization creates opportunities for both private and governmental sectors in the relations between Brazil and Africa.

“We understand that the private sector is vital. We pursue the emphasis on economic development and we want to make Africa more known to Brazilian, showing their potentialities, such as their mineral resources and their services sector”, explains Monte.

He highlights that by 2050 the African population will be 2 billion people. With this potential in mind, the Institute maintains projects like the Brazil Africa Forum, which annually gathers representatives of companies and governments from over 30 countries. The 2014 edition focused on infrastructure and counted on the participation of the Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research (Embrapa), the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), the Camargo Correa corporation, among others.

On 29 and 30 January 2015, the Institute will host the event “Brazil and Northern Africa: challenges and opportunities for the production of food and food security”. Currently, Brazil has 33 embassies in the African continent. It has second biggest diplomatic representation, following China that has embassies in over 50 countries.

During the study visit of Cameroon, Laos, and Zimbabwe, the president of the Institute discussed potential partnerships with the Centre of Excellence for the promotion of South-South cooperation with African countries

The Ministry of Education of Zambia requested the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger’s support towards an effective implementation of a homegrown school feeding programme (HGSFP) in the country. A mission of consultants to Zambia happened from 11 -21 November.

In collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme, the transition from a partner-implemented school feeding programme to a HGSFP is becoming a reality. In 2013, Zambia representatives did two study visits to Brazil that left them impressed with the multi-sectorial nature of the Brazilian approach.

The promotion of a HGSF model represents the Zambia government’s commitment to address the many difficulties facing the rural poor. Furthermore, the provision of school meals ensures that children from poor households can have equal access to Education and Health.

The inclusion of agriculture and nutrition’s perspectives in the school feeding programme also connects with the government’s policy on diversified agriculture and improved nutrition. The development of a HGSF Policy therefore intends to engage all key sectors and players to buy into the programme.  

In action

The Centre of Excellence’s consultants Nadia Goodman and Cristina Murphy were in Zambia to support the development of a Concept Note to draw the steps towards the development of the Policy. As part of the consultancy, a field visit to Mumbwa took place on 12 and 13 November with the School Feeding Coordinator of the Ministry of Education, Ms. Faith Nchito, Edna Kalaluka, WFP Senior Programme Officer, and Fanwell Hamusonde, WFP Field Coordinator for the District of Mumbwa. During the meeting, they met representatives from the District of Mumbwa and two primary schools Chikanda and Shimbizhi Primary Schools to discuss their involvement in the development of the HGSF policy and programme.

During a week in Lusaka, the consultants were joined by the Regional Bureau advisor Mr Svante Helms and staff member of the Zambia Country Office. They had meetings with stakeholders from different ministries, development partners and civil society institutions. The preliminary findings and a set of recommendations were presented to Patrick Nkanza, the Permanent Secretary, and Owen Mgemezulu, Director of Planning and Information from the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education.

The findings included: across all levels the school feeding programme is well received; finance resource commitment to the programme is commendable; commitment and enthusiasm towards the programme at local level was high. The outcome of this mission will be a concept note, a draft policy outline and a road map providing the next steps for the Zambian HGSF policy development to be done next year. 

Consultants from the WFP Centre of Excellence visited Zambia to discuss a concept note towards the development of a new school feeding programme. They met with government officials, WFP country office members and local partners.

 

Translations into Portuguese, French and Spanish of the report “Structured Demand and Smallholders Farmers in Brazil” were released this week. The original study in English was launched in October 2013 as a partnership between the WPF Centre of Excellence against Hunger and IPC-IG (International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth). 

The publication analyzes the case studies of two Brazilian projects: the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) and the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE). It shows that supplying schools with food items grown by smallholder farmers is an effective way to strength family farming and reduce poverty while promoting the fight against hunger. 

Only in the last three months of 2013, the article was downloaded more than 20 thousand times from IPC web site, indicating great demand for the topic.

All versions of the report are available here: 

English

Portuguese

French

Spanish

Publication launched by the Centre of Excellence originally in English has versions in Portuguese, French, and Spanish.

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger is selecting a professional to work as South-South Programme Specialist in its office in Brasília. The main role of this professional will be to guide the Centre‘s study visit initiative, including assessment of visiting countries’ needs, design of study visit programme, coordination with WFP Country Office, ABC and other stakeholders, and management of the execution of the visit.

The Centre is looking for a professional with university degree in one or more of the following disciplines: economics, international affairs, social sciences, development studies, urban development, nutrition or a field relevant to international development assistance. Master degree in one of the mentioned areas will be an advantage. This person will ensure an effective learning environment for visiting countries and will support policy dialogue and the elaboration of action plans. The goal is to facilitate the establishment of or the transition to nationally-owned school feeding programmes and other policies to tackle hunger.

The professional must have at least five years of postgraduate progressively responsible professional experience in the programme area, including in developing settings on urban and rural poverty alleviation programme, food security, South-South Cooperation, capacity development and/or social protection. Project management and administration experience is also required, as well as fluency in both written and oral Portuguese and English. 

If you think you are the perfect candidate, click here for more information and send us your application until November 16.

The Centre looks for professinals with solid experience in programme and fluency in English and Portuguese to manage the Centre's study visits programme. Apllications must be sent until November 16.