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Centre of Excellence against Hunger News

News from the Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

As part of the partnership between the Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the British Ambassador in Brazil, Alex Ellis, participated on 20 August in a field visit to a settlement in the rural area of the Federal District. The Fazenda Larga settlement is used by the Centre as an example of successful agricultural policy for delegations from developing countries on study visits to Brazil. 

Besides the ambassador, the director of the Centre of Excellence, Daniel Balaban, and the president of the Company for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension of the Federal District (Emater-DF), Marcelo Piccin, participated in the field visit. The Federal District is the only federal unit that provides technical assistance and rural extension to 100 percent of smallholder farmers and agrarian reform settlers. About 30% of farmers participate in institutional purchasing programmes such as the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) and the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE). 

Jair Pinto's fish tank

Group visits Mr. Pinto's fish tank

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira

 

The Fazenda Larga settlement was created in 2003 in an area of 225 hectares, where 83 families reside. The smallholder farmers produce vegetables and fruits and raise poultry, fish and cattle. They sell part of their production to the PAA since 2009, and beginning in 2014 they are also supplying food items to the PNAE. Between 2012 and 2013, farmers of the Fazenda Larga sold 180 tons of food through public procurement. The field visit took place on the property of Jair Francisco Pinto, president of the Association of Producers of Fazenda Larga. 

Settlement 

The families of Fazenda Larga, before being settled, lived in an environmental protection are known as Sucupira Park. When residents of the park were removed in 2003, some of the families requested settlement in a rural area. Despite their lack of experience with agriculture, since most of the residents worked as teamsters and garbage collectors, they decided to invest in agricultural production as a new way of life. 

Over 12 years, the Emater offered training in irrigation, medicinal plants, pesticides, baking, environmental protection, fruits, vegetables, sewing, and others. Farmers arrived at Fazenda Larga with no water, no house and no electricity. Today they have irrigated crops, houses and electric power. "When we came here, we spent six months eating only pumpkin. Children were malnourished. Today we have yogurt, fruit, vegetables, we sell tomatoes, peppers, cassava", said Jair Pinto. 

Jair Pinto's first house when he arrived at the settlement

Jair Pinto's first house, when he arrived at the settlement

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira

Jair Pinto's current house

Jair Pinto's current house

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira

 

"The idea is that families become increasingly independent from Emater, but the technical assistance is always important, because in addition to supporting productive activities, it also facilitates access to all the public policies available to the families," explained Marcelo Piccin. As the community evolves and expands the use of technology, the type of assistance offered by Emater transforms to address the new needs. 

The Emater encouraged farmers to invest in diversity of production to ensure food security to households and facilitate access to institutional purchase markets. The strategy has produced good results. The community begins to stand out as a producer of fruits and vegetables and to attract buyers, which ensures the income of the families. "What struck me on this visit to Fazenda Larga was what always catches my attention in Brazil: this rapid economic and social transformation," said the ambassador Alex Ellis.

Alex Ellis visited the Fazenda Larga settlement, used by the Centre as an example of successful agricultural policy for delegations from developing countries on study visits to Brazil

In its three years of existence, the Centre of Excellence against Hunger organized 30 study visits for representatives of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, provided technical assistance to a dozen countries and helped organize national seminars on school feeding and other strategies to tackle hunger in five countries. With this ongoing work of disseminating information and promoting exchanges of experience, the Centre was able to support the creation of new school feeding policies in 15 countries. 

These numbers are a consequence of hard work and support of many institutions, but they are primarily the result of the commitment of our staff, our humanitarian heroes. On August 19, the World Humanitarian Day, the Centre takes the opportunity to honor all of its employees, who dedicate their time, their creativity and caring to help build a fairer world without hunger. To represent us, we chose Sharon Freitas. 

Sharon is working at the Centre of Excellence since before its official launching, in 2011. She has been involved in all sorts of tasks in the Centre and had the privilege of accompanying the preparation and execution of all 30 study visits. With that, she had contact with governments and humanitarian workers from three dozen countries and visited Malawi, Niger, Senegal and Cuba.

"Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder why I do this work. We face so many difficulties, so many setbacks, that it can be difficult to see what we want to achieve. But then we go to a country and see the government committed to improving the situation, we see the population involved, and this renews our spirits," Sharon says.

According to Sharon, new approaches to humanitarian action, which combine emergency assistance to building lasting and sustainable solutions through the strengthening of governments and populations, are what attract her to this work. "I once heard from a representative of a government during a study visit to Brazil that the information we were passing over about the connection between school feeding and smallholder farmers was inspiring for him. At that moment I felt we had transformed the way he thinks about fighting hunger and poverty. This is what gives meaning to our work."

On August 19, the World Humanitarian Day, the Centre takes the opportunity to honor all of its employees, who dedicate their time, their creativity and caring to help build a fairer world without hunger.

Would you like to work at the Centre of Excellence against Hunger in Brasília? This might be your chance! The Centre is looking for a highly motived, proactive, creative Director Assistant, with good writing and networking skills. It is an interesting position for a dynamic young professional who has recently completed academic studies, and has a good education background, exceptional language skills in Portuguese and English, and some experience abroad to serve and assist the Director.  

The Director Assistant is expected to promote good information flow within the Centre, manage the Director’s agenda, establish good relationships with working level interlocutors within stakeholder organizations, organize records, partner’s backgrounds, trends, preferences and policies, and provide well analyzed data with minimum supervision. Supporting and maintaining relationships with partners and donors, and preparing briefing materials and presentations are also under the Director’s Assistant responsibility.

To achieve all these goals, we believe candidates must have excellent writing skills in English and Portuguese; ability to network effectively and establish good relationships with working level contacts in key partner organizations, counterpart ministries and internally in WFP; good problem solving capacity with an ability to maintain accurate and precise records and to interpret and analyze a variety of data and resolve discrepancies; courtesy, tact and the ability to work effectively with people of different national and cultural backgrounds; proactive and flexible personality with excellent communication skills.

We are hoping to receive CVs from candidates with university degree in International Relations, Development Studies, Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Business, Communication, Marketing, International Law or other related area, but master’s degree in one of these subjects or related area is preferred. Studies undertaken abroad are also considered an asset. Previous experience in working or interning in international organizations, large multinational companies and/or government is required, and related volunteer work will be considered. Knowledge in Brazilian food security and social programmes and south-south cooperation is also crucial.

Please send the Curriculum in English to: recruitment.brasilia@wfp.org, with the Subject WFP/HR/2014/Director´s Assistant. WFP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. Due to the volume of applications received, receipt of applications cannot be acknowledged individually. Only short-listed applicants will be contacted.  Salary is R$ 5.420,00 (monthly), and applications must be sent until August 15.

Download the vacancy announcement for more information.

 

Applications must be sent until August 15, candidates must have excellent communications skills in Portuguese and English and university degree  in International Relations, Development Studies, Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Business, Communication, Marketing, International Law or other related area. Salary is R$ 5.420,00 per month.

President Dilma Rousseff signed last June 20 Law 13.001, which increases the maximum amount previously established for donations of food from Brazil to other countries. The new law allows Brazil to donate approximately 250,000 tons of rice for ready consumption to countries facing humanitarian emergencies. Donations will be made by the Brazilian government to the World Food Programme (WFP).

"The possibility of Brazil making new food donations to WFP further strengthens the actions of horizontal cooperation between Brazil and other developing countries," says Daniel Balaban, director of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger. According to projections published annually by WFP, in 2014 the organization will need 3.3 million tons of cereals to meet the needs of its programmes. 

This is the third major donation of food for international humanitarian cooperation approved by the Brazilian Congress. In 2009, Brazil donated approximately 45,000 tons of food to Haiti, Cuba, Honduras and Jamaica, to serve those affected by tropical storms Gustav, Hannah and Ike that hit the region. On June 20, 2011, the President signed Law 12.429, which approved the largest Brazilian donation, totaling 320,000 tons of food ready for consumption to countries that were facing food insecurity, benefiting approximately 24,700,000 people in 37 countries - considering the portions distributed by WFP in one month. 

"In this context, Brazil, which until 2009 did not donate to WFP, but had received food from the agency until the 90’s, became the seventh largest donor to the agency in 2012," said the Coordinator-General for International Action against Hunger of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Milton Rondó Filho. Law 13,001 amends provisions of Law 12,429 of 2011, increasing by 250,000 tons the Brazilian donations. 

"The donations made possible by this new law maintains the national efforts to tackle the enormous challenge that humanitarian crises pose to the international community and to guarantee the human right to food, which, being a fundamental right, is universal and should therefore be protected, promoted and provided, in any country, and by all Governments, in a solidary way," Rondó said. 

Donations are operationalized nationally with the support of the National Supply Company (Conab), according to periodic review to provide surpluses of public food stocks so as not to endanger the domestic supply of the product or the service to the people victimized by environmental adverse events in Brazil.

Brazil approves new law that allows the country to donate up to 250,000 tons of rice to WFP emergency responses. Donations will not endanger the domestic supply of the product 

The Centre of Excellence against Hunger held, on 14 and 15 July, a training session for consultants on horizontal cooperation and food and nutritional security policies and programmes. The objective of the training was to identify talented professionals to work as consultants to the Centre of Excellence in support of developing countries interested in finding sustainable solutions to food security and social development. 

A total of 17 professionals attended the training - 13 participated in person and four by videoconference. During the two days, participants were able to deepen their knowledge about the work of the World Food Programme, about the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, and about the Centre of Excellence and the partnership between the Brazilian government and WFP to assist other developing countries in actions to overcome hunger and poverty. 

Another theme highlighted during training was the Brazilian experience with programmes and social development policies. The participating professionals discussed the National School Feeding Programme, the legal framework that supports Brazilian social policies and programmes, and initiatives to strengthen family agriculture. They also debated the challenges of horizontal cooperation initiatives, or south-south cooperation, promoted by Brazil. 

As part of its programme of exchange of experience and capacity building, the Centre of Excellence supports the hiring of consultants, who are deployed to countries to assist in the design and implementation of policies and programmes in school feeding and other social development issues. Training participants were presented to the work already done by the consultants of the Centre of Excellence in countries like Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, and Republic of Guinea.

A total of 17 professionals attended the training held on 14 and 15 July to identify talented professionals to work as consultants to the Centre of Excellence in support of developing countries that are committed to finding sustainable solutions to food security and social development. 

The Centre of Excellence against Hunger is a partnership between WFP and the Brazilian government, to support developing countries through South-South cooperation in finding their own sustainable solutions for school feeding and food and nutritional security. Until last December, the Centre had already received 23 delegations for study visits in Brazil. In 2013, there were 10 study visits for delegations from nine countries. The study visit is one of the vital learning tools of the work methodology of the Centre.

The Centre has invested in the continued support to countries that had already participated in the study visits in 2012. It supported workshops in four African countries on school feeding and other food security policies, it sent consultants to five countries to help them develop their own public policies in the area and it sent technical missions to six countries. From the 23 countries that have already undertaken study visits, 13 are at different stages of preparation and approval of their own policies and programmes of school feeding and nutritional security.

All of these accomplishments and all the activities of the Centre in 2013 are available on our Annual Report:

 

English                    Português                          Français

The report presents the main activities and results of the Centre in 2013 and highlights: from the 23 countries that have already undertaken study visits, 13 are at different stages of preparation and approval of their own policies and programmes of school feeding and nutritional security.

Niger announced the creation of a management unit of school feeding in the country, linked to the country's ministerial cabinet. The goal is to coordinate governmental actions in the area of school feeding, using locally produced food. The government hopes to increase the budget line for school feeding, improve integration between the school feeding programme and the smallholder farmers and strengthen the legislative framework with a specific law on school feeding.

Niger is a country with 16 million people and high rates of chronic malnutrition, and its economy is heavily based on agriculture. In May 2012, a delegation from the country came to Brazil for a study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence. The main objective of the mission was to understand the policies and steps that Brazil has taken to develop its exemplary school feeding programme. The delegation also hoped to obtain technical support from Brazil to issues such as the involvement of civil society and the link of the school feeding programme with local agricultural production.

After the study visit, the Centre supported the hiring of a consultant to support the government of Niger in developing an implementation plan for the School Feeding Programme. A national consultation was held to discuss the plan and its implementation, in October 2013. This consultation established the main objectives of Niger’s strategy: include smallholder farmers in the agricultural market, strengthen local food production, and expand food and nutrition security in the country through school feeding.

Niger announced the creation of a management unit of school feeding in the country, as a result of the cooperation with Brazil, through the Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

From 3 to 5 June Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, hosted the international seminar "Institutional Purchase + Local Development". The goal of the seminar was to promote the exchange of experiences among Brazil and other developing countries on institutional food purchase from smallholder farmers, to support strategies of social development in those countries.

The event was held by the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS), with support from the World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger, in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of the State of Rio Grande do Sul.

Representatives of the African countries of Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Gambia attended the event, as well as a delegation from Pakistan that was in Brazil for a study visit since last week. In addition to international delegations, the event brought together representatives from federal, state, and municipal governments. The director of the Centre of Excellence, Daniel Balaban, and the deputy director, Cynthia Jones, were present, as were the head of DFID in Brazil, Indranil Chakrabarti, and the Secretary of Food and Nutrition Security of MDS, Arnoldo de Campos.

 

Exchange of experiences

On Tuesday, 3 June, first day of event, discussions focused on the exchange of experiences among representatives of the visiting countries and members of the Brazilian government. The delegations of Mozambique, Ethiopia, The Gambia, and Pakistan briefly presented the social challenges faced by their countries and discussed their interests and priorities for the exchange with Brazil.

Irene Cunha, from the Secretariat of Federal Affairs, Presidency of the Republic, explained to the delegations how the federative system in Brazil is structured and highlighted: “In spite of the great advances of the last few years, Brazil is still an unequal federation. The 283 municipalities with over 100,000 inhabitants generate 70% of the country’s income, while the 3,915 municipalities with up to 20,000 inhabitants generate less than 11% of the income”. Luciana Alves de Oliveira, from the Secretariat for Eradication of Extreme Poverty of MDS, spoke about the challenge of eradicating extreme poverty in Brazil and the importance of intersectoriality to achieve it.

Jennifer Carla Paula, from the Secretariat of Income and Citizenship of MDS presented the process of constructing and managing the Brazilian single registry (Cadastro Único), a tool created by the Brazilian government to identify the low-income families that are benefitted by social programmes, cinluding the Bolsa Família. About the Bolsa Família, Jennifer explained: "The programme has three dimensions. The first one is to provide immediate alleviation of poverty, through direct cash transfer to the families. The second is to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, through the health and education conditions. And the third is to promote the development of families through complementary programmes of capacity building and income generation”.

Denise Kroeff, from the Secretariat of Food and Nutrition Security of MDS, discussed rural prodction inclusion and the importance of institutional procurement. The first day was closed with a presentation of the current Brazilian initiatives to support other developing countries in the fight against hunger and poverty by Daniel Balaban, Indranil Chakrabarti, and Arnoldo Campos.

 

Institutional food purchase

The second day of event had the participation of over 150 people, representing governmental and civil society institutions involved in institutional food purchase and smallholder farmers. The opening session was made by Isabelle Mballa, WFP Regional Purchase for Progress (P4P) Advisor for West Africa, Alan Bojanic, representative of FAO in Brazil, and Arnoldo de Campos, Secretary of Food and Nutrition Security of MDS.

Isabelle Mballa the WFP experiences with institutional food purchase and setressed that "WFP model is progressively evolving from emergency only to recovery and country capacity development". Alan Bojanic discussed the experiences of FAO on Latin-America and the Caribbean and said: “in spite of the advances, it is still unacceptable the number of persons suffering from hunger in the world”. Arnoldo de Campos explained how the Food Acquisition Programme works and why it is important to Brazil and sated that “the food purchase conducted by the Brazilian school feeding programme is a reference for the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) in Brazil”.

The country delegations then presented their realities to the Brazilian audience. Each speaker presented social and economic data on their countries, informed about social development programmes already in place and the main challenges faced, and highlighted the expectations of the countries in relation to the cooperation with Brazil.

 

Mozambique

With the intent of getting to know better the Brazilian single registry (Cadastro Único), Carlota Tomucene, from the Ministry of Woman and Social Action of Mozambique, participated in the seminar along with Deolinda Pacho, from the WFP country office. Carlota informed that 0.9% of the Mozambique’s GDP goes to the country’s social programmes and shared the difficulties of her country in implementing cash transfer programmes. With over 54% of the population being illiterate, the identification of potential beneficiaries is a great challenge. “Over three years ago, Mozambique contacted the Brazilian government to seek support in the development of our Cadastro Único. Our participation in this seminar is a result of this and it is a great opportunity for future cooperation”, said Carlota.

 

Ethiopia

Michael Berhanu, director of Food Security of the Ministry of Agriculture, and Netsanet Mulat, both technicians working with social development in the government of Ethiopia, recognized the necessity of elaborating a social development policy to encompass the many social assistance and development programmes in their country. In this sense, the support from Brazil, both technical and political, for designing, creating, and approving social development mechanisms with a multisectorial approach to the social programmes, based on the Brazilian experience.

 

The Gambia

Fanta Bai Secka, director of Social Welfare of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of The Gambia, informed that 37% of the Gambian population live below the poverty line. Gambia is number 168 on the Human Development Index ranking, that encompasses 182 countries. According to Bai Madi Ceesay, from the Ministry of Finance, the country already invests 1.2% of its GDP in social programmes, but their goal is to reach 3%. One of the mains challenges of The Gambia is to mobilize the necessary resources to implement the Social Protection Policy that is being designed for two years. According to the delegation, besides mobilizing resources, te cooperation with Brazil can help the country to increase its technical and administrative capacity and improve its legal framework.

 

Field visit

On 5 June, the delegations of Mozambique, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Pakistan participated in a field trip to smallholder farmers and one cooperative, called COOTAP, to see firsthand how the institutional food purchase works and discuss with the producers about the impacts of this kind of initiative on their lives.

Later, the participants visited a Reference Centre for Social Assistance (CRAS), a public and decentralized unit that is part of the Brazilian National Policy for Social Assistance. The CRAS is the first gateway to the Brazilian unified System for Social Assistance due to its capillarity in the territory. It is responsible for organizing the provision of social protection services, including the Bolsa Família, for vulnerable and at-risk populations.

 

Project start

The event in Porto Alegre marked the beginning of the Partnership for National Social Development Initiatives, project conducted by the Centre and MDS, with support from DFID, that aims to strengthen Brazil’s role and impact in conducting South-South cooperation initiatives to support the creation and advances of social development programmes to reduce poverty and hunger in low income countries in Africa through food and nutrition security initiatives. Mozambique, Ethiopia, and The Gambia are three of the four countries that are going to participate in the project. The fourth is Zambia, which couldn’t send a delegation to Brazil on this occasion.

Taking advantage of their presence in Brazil, the entities participating in the project conducted the first meeting on 2 June, to align expectations. Each country had the chance to present their priorities and clarify doubts about the projects. MDS, DFID and the Centre of Excellence explained the details of the project and how the partnership was designed. “Since 2005, DFID works with Brazil to share the Brazilian experiences with other developing countries, and we noticed that the real beauty of the Brazilian model is intersectoriality”, said Indranil Chakrabarti.

 

To see pictures of the event, visit our album on Facebook.

 

International seminar promotes the exchange of experiences among Brazil, The Gambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Pakistan on institutional food purchase from smallholder farmers.

From 27 May to 6 June, a delegation from Pakistan was in Brazil for a study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence against Hunger. The focus of the study visit is getting to know the Brazilian experiences and the programmes related to the Zero Hunger strategy in Brazil, since Pakistan is implementing its National Zero Hunger Programme. The delegation was led by Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, minister of National Food Security and Research, who made a presentation about the Pakistani programme during a CONSEA meeting.

During the first week of the visit, the delegation was given a presentation about the work of the Centre of Excellence and a food security in the world overview, besides en initial presentation about the Zero hunger Strategy in Brazil. The delegation presented an overview of the food security in Pakistan, highlighting the main challenges for the implementation of its National Zero Hunger Programme.

On the following day, the delegation participated in meeting of the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (CONSEA), composed by members of the Brazilian government and civil society. They were able to witness the ordinary discussion of the Council, and minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan was invited to speak briefly about food security in Pakistan and the cooperation with Brazil. In his speech, the minister highlighted the importance of agriculture to the Pakistani economy, including employment, income generation and international commerce. He also emphasized the importance of the work conducted by the Centre of Excellence for the promotion of social development in developing countries.

The delegation met with representatives of the Brazilian Food Supply Company (CONAB) and the Brazilian Company for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA), to discuss their participation in the Brazilian Zero Hunger Strategy. The field visit took place in Planaltina, a small town near Brasília, so they could see the production and storage of grains, learn about the different modalities of investment in agriculture, and talk to representatives of smallholder farmers’ cooperatives about supplying produce for governmental programmes. On Saturday, the delegation had its first planning session, to begin discussions about their action plan.

Seminar on institutional food procurement
On the following week, the delegation went to Porto Alegre to participate in the international seminar "Institutional Purchase + Local Development". The event had the purpose of discussing the importance of governmental food procurement from smallholder farmers for the development of agriculture. The seminar was held by the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS), with support from the World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger, in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of the State of Rio Grande do Sul.

This visit was a follow up of the Pakistan-Brazil Seminar on Food Security and Poverty Alleviation, held in Islamabad in December 2012, when Pakistan found many similarities with the Brazilian scenario. Brazil participated in this seminar through the Centre of Excellence. “The Zero Hunger Programme unfortunately could not make much progress last year and now we are looking into developing and implementing it. This is a learning visit to see how Brazil implemented its Zero Hunger Strategy and we are delighted to be part of this interaction,” said minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan during his time in Brasilia.

The whole overview of social safety nets they could have whilst in Brazil was key for Pakistan to further develop their ZHP. The programme is a five year plan that aims to reach a total of 61 million food insecure people across the country, with a total cost of 16 billion US dollars. Like Brazil, Pakistan has different challenges to address in regards to tackling hunger and investing in agriculture innovation.

 

To see more pictures of the study visit, see our album on Facebook.

From 27 May to 6 June, a delegation from Pakistan was in Brazil for a study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence against Hunger. The focus of the study visit was getting to know the Brazilian experiences and programmes related to the Zero Hunger strategy in Brazil, since Pakistan is implementing its National Zero Hunger Programme.

In April, the Ambassador of Brazil in Bangladesh, Ms. Wanja Campos da Nóbrega, visited a home-grown school feeding pilot-project supported by the World Food Programme in Islampur, Bangladesh. The pilot-project is one of the initiatives established in the action plan prepared by the delegation of Bangladesh that participated in a study visit to Brazil in September 2012, organized by the Centre of Excellence.

Following the study visit to Brazil, the government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Primary and Mass Education requested WFP to explore the possibility of providing school meals as an alternative modality to the biscuit-model that was being implemented in the country. Since October 2013, WFP has been serving school meals in 34 public primary schools and pre-primary schools in two unions of Islampur Upazila, Jamalpur District.  

The meal plan has been designed to ensure that children are provided with adequate dietary energy, protein and micronutrients to alleviate short-term hunger, boost nutritional levels, improve health, and in turn improve the energy levels and capacity of children to learn. The daily meal is based on a traditional recipe, khichuri, which is easily adapted to include various local and nutritious ingredients according to availability. The staple ingredients for khichuri include micronutrient fortified rice, pulses and fortified vegetable oil, to which various seasonal ingredients are added, including leafy and non-leafy vegetables and spices. When and where available, fruits are provided to complement the meal. 

The fortified rice consists of normal rice blended at a 1:100 ratio with a fortified rice kernel which looks, tastes, and smells like normal rice. The fortified kernel consists of rice flour mixed with Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc, based on the nutritional needs of the nutritionally vulnerable populations in Bangladesh. The distribution of fortified rice is being piloted in several other programmes conducted by the WFP and the Brazilian government.

The school visited by the Ambassador, South Chinaduli Government Primary School, in Islampur Upazila, Jamalpur, begun providing cooked meals to the students in October 2013. Five times per week the students receive a hot cooked meal of khichuri, and on Thursdays (when the school day is shorter) they receive a nutritious snack of micronutrient fortified biscuits and fruit. 

According to WFP’s monitoring visits, the School Meals Programme has already shown a positive impact, with enrolment figures in South Chinaduli Government Primary School having increased from 310 to 332 and school attendance also having increased from 70% to 95% since October 2013. 

The impact of School Meals on enrolment and attendance rates will continue to be closely monitored. Further, a formative evaluation is planned to be carried out in the second half of 2014, which will be complemented by an analysis considering the cost-benefit of School Meals. An Acceptability Study and an Effectiveness Study on the fortified rice will also generate evidence to inform the appropriateness of the School Meals modality and plans for scale-up.

The home-grown school feeding programme was designed as a result of the Bangladesh study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence