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Centre of Excellence against Hunger News

News from the Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

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

The Centre of Excellence against Hunger signed on 6 May a memorandum of understanding with the municipality of São Paulo, the largest city in Latin America. The agreement stipulates that the Centre and the municipality will collaborate on initiatives to disseminate the Brazilian experiences in the area of food security and social protection. The signing took place during the launch of the Education Beyond the Plate Award, an initiative undertaken by the city government with the support of the Centre to recognize outstanding new recipes for healthy eating in public schools.

The agreement was signed by the director of the Centre of Excellence, Daniel Balaban, and the mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad. The award encourages the school community to discuss food and health habits, and the six best dishes will be added to the menu of school lunches in public schools. "The quality of school meals is reflected in the quality of life. It has an immediate impact on education and health: in education because a well-nourished child learns more, and in health because the healthy habits will accompany those kids throughout their entire lives," said Mr. Haddad.

The educators and cooks that develop the two best dishes of the city, one hot and one cold, will be awarded a trip to Africa. "These projects will be shown not only in São Paulo, but in Brazil and the world. We will take the winners to some countries in Africa so they can learn about the reality of these places and share their experiences with people who are eager to know the Brazilian solutions to school feeding," said Daniel Balaban.

The MoU stipulates that the Centre of Excellence and the city of São Paulo will work together to share the Brazilian experiences in food and social security, improve the activities related to the National School Feeding Programme through technical support and foster programmes that grant access to markets for farmers.

The agreement establishes a partnership between the Centre and the largest city in Latin America to disseminate the Brazilian experience in fighting hunger and poverty

A Tunisian delegation of representatives from the ministries of Education, Agriculture, Social Affairs, Health, and International Affairs, and members of the WFP Tunisia Country Office as well was in Brazil from 23 to 30 April for a study visit, organized by the Centre of Excellence against Hunger. The visit was focused mainly on the Brazilian experience in school feeding, since Tunisia is interested in reviewing its national school feeding programme, in order to develop and adopt a more sustainable model.

Prior to sending a delegation to Brazil, the Tunisian government did an evaluation of its current school feeding programme using the Systematic Approach for the Enhancement of the Education Results (SABER). This methodology analyses five aspects of the school feeding programme: political and legal frameworks; financial capacity; institutional and coordination capacity; design and implementation; and community participation. With the results of this evaluation in hand, the delegation was able to identify the specific aspects of the Brazilian National School Feeding Programme that could help them improve their own programme.

The nine members of the delegation held meetings with representatives of the main institutions involved in the Brazilian School Feeding Programme and other social protection initiatives. Representatives of the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE), the National Supply Company (CONAB), the National Council for Food and Nutritional Security (Consea) and the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company of the Federal District (Emater-DF) shared their experiences and best practices.

 

To see more pictures of the Tunisia study visit, go to our Facebook photo album!

Field visits
The Tunisian delegation visited the Food Bank of the Federal District, responsible for projects to reduce food waist and to distribute food for social protection institutions. They also visited schools, popular restaurants, agricultural cooperatives, and a smallholder farm. With these meetings and visits, they could have a broader understanding on how Brazil has structured its social protection programmes, linking smallholder farmers, local production of food and the universal right to food, to achieve zero hunger.

The integration among the different institutions and government levels involved in the implementation of such programmes and the link between the programmes and the smallholder farmers were highlighted by the delegation as key to the success of the Brazilian initiatives. This resonates with the Tunisian intention of partnering the ministries of Education and Agriculture to promote home-grown school feeding linking smallholder farmers in Tunisia with schools.

Another aspect of the Brazilian experience that drew the delegation’s attention was the participation of the community in the implementation of the programmes. Kamel Hajjem, general director of Education in the Ministry of Education, who was leading the delegation, said that “every level involved in the programmes knows how the programmes work and is committed to one political will: hunger can’t wait”.

Results
Tunisia already has a well-structured, decentralized school feeding programme, and the government is committed to improving it. The delegation arrived in Brazil with an assessment of their programme, which facilitated true exchange of knowledge and experience with the Brazilian government, in a very productive south-south cooperation exercise. The delegation prepared an action plan establishing what they want to achieve and what are the necessary steps to move forward, and defined what kind of support and information they need from the Centre of Excellence and from the Brazilian government.

The trip to Brazil was part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by WFP with the Ministry of Education for the provision of technical assistance to its national school feeding programme.  WFP Tunisia is implementing this technical assistance through the “Capacity Development in the Framework of the School Feeding Programme” project financed by the Government of the Russian Federation, and implemented in partnership with the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI).

After a seven-day trip to Brazil, delegation of Tunisia prepares an action plan to improve the country’s school feeding programme, with support from WFP, the Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the government of Brazil

The representatives from Benin, Burundi, and Togo were in the federal capital, Brasilia, and Salvador, Santo Amaro, and Simões Filho, in Bahia state, to talk with representatives of governmental institutions, school staff, students, and farmers. Based on the lessons learned during the visit, the representatives of the three countries designed an action plan to develop and implement home-grown school feeding programmes.

The delegations were composed of about 30 people, including representatives of governments and regional and country offices of the World Food Program. Also participated in the study visit Debra Paff, Head of the School Feeding and Humanitarian Assistance Unit of the Food Assistance Division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who came to see first-hand the Brazilian experiences of school feeding and fight against hunger and poverty. The three countries are in different stages of developing and implementing home-grown school feeding programmes.

 

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

 

Lessons
The Burundi delegation was led by the minister of Education, Dr. Rose Gahiru. In an interview, the minister said that the decision to come to Brazil to participate in the study visit was due to the fact that Brazil has been recognized as a reference in the organization of school feeding programmes, which has been a challenge for her country. "The aspect of how to structure and organize the feeding program in schools is undoubtedly what will help us the most in Burundi". The minister also said that the exchange of experiences with other African countries supported by the Centre of Excellence is very positive. "I didn’t have the information that so many countries had school feeding initiatives. By knowing the different forms of organization of activities, we can see what works and what can be adapted to Burundi."

Nicole Jacquet, deputy director of the WFP Country Office in Burundi, said that the study visit came at an opportune time, as the National School Feeding Programme in Burundi was launched in October 2013 in three provinces, funded by the Government of the Netherlands. "With this scenario, being able to learn how Brazil achieved such impressive results in fighting hunger and finding ways to adapt lessons from Brazil to Burundi were the biggest motivation to participate in the study visit. She also said that, in Burundi, "home-grown school feeding programmes are being widely recognized and everyone is enthusiastic about it, but we know that we need experienced consultants in areas lacking in Burundi, and so the support of the Centre will be needed as soon as possible".

Housainou Taal, WFP representative in Benin and Togo, said that before the trip, he was curious to know how Brazil had achieved so many advances in food security and social protection. "Brazil has a unique experience in the area of social safety nets," he said. Adapting initiatives in public policy, social mobilization, and the right to food will be the big challenge for Benin and Togo, according to him, who also highlighted the local purchase of food for school feeding. Taal explained that interaction with other African countries does not occur naturally. "The study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence facilitates learning across countries. It is a wonderful experience that gives us a big push!"

 

Challenges
At the closing session, representatives from Benin, Burundi, and Togo highlighted a common challenge: elaborate a strategy of mobilization of resources that allow the countries to move forward with the improvement of their home-grown school feeding programmes. For the three countries, the main demand to tackle this and their other challenges is technical assistance.

The Centre of Excellence will continue to offer support for the three countries, in the form of technical assistance, and in accordance with the activities and goals established in the action plans. Such support may include deploying consultants to each country to assist in the development or improvement of public policies, in the organization of seminars to validate these policies and in the implementation of programmes and projects. The joint visit was also an opportunity to begin a process of regional cooperation among the three countries that is expected to continue and even be expanded to other countries.

Meetings
The Brazilian Cooperation Agency, the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE), the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS), the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA), the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (Consea), the National Supply Company (Conab), and the State Secretariat for Education of Bahia were some of the institutions with which the delegations were able to exchange experiences during the study visit. They also had a meeting with the governor of Bahia, Jacques Wagner, to learn about the coordination between the different levels of government to ensure that social protection programmes work properly.

 

 

 

For ten days, three delegations from Benin, Burundi, and Togo, were in Brazil on a study visit to learn how Brazil develops, structures, finances, implements, and evaluates its social protection programmes, especially the National School Feeding Programme.