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Centre of Excellence against Hunger News

News from the Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

Political will and multi-sectorial coordination can make a huge difference. With this impression and full of inspiration, the members of the African Union delegation left Brazil last Friday after a one-week study visit to discuss school feeding as a key strategy to promote development.

“Being in Brazil was a great opportunity and we took the most of it”, said at the closing session the head of the delegation, Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, African union’s Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology.

The Commissioner announced that the next steps will be presenting the results of the mission in Brazil to the African ministers of Education, Agriculture, and Social Affairs, at the ministerial meeting that will happen in October this year. The objective is for the African Union to take ownership of the issue and to adopt a continental initiative on school feeding. To achieve this goal, the Commissioner announced that the African Union will formalize a cooperation agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

“This is probably the most important moment of the four years of the Centre of Excellence against Hunger. Up to now, we have been working individually with each country, many of them African countries. With this partnership with the African Union, we will count on a continental leadership that will boost our mobilization capacity and the reach of our work. We hope to see very soon the entire African continent investing in national school feeding programmes”, said the director of the Centre of Excellence, Daniel Balaban.

Trip to Brazil

Delegation visits rural school

Photo: WFP/Mariana Rocha

 

The African union delegation was in Brasília from 22 to 30 August to see first-hand the Brazilian National School Feeding Programme (PNAE). The study visit was organized by the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, the WFP African Union, WFP Niger, and the WFP Regional Office in Dakar. It counted on the participation of 17 countries of the African Union, besides representatives of the World Food Programme.

During the week, the group met the Brazilian minister of Social Development and Fight against hunger, Tereza Campello. “We live a moment of fraternal closeness with Africa and we have plenty to share among our countries”, said Ms. Campello. She highlighted the importance of political will and of simple solutions to overcome hunger. She mentioned the Brazilian experience of procuring food produced by smallholder farmers to supply the school feeding programme as an example of an effective and successful way to achieve food security. The acquisition of food from smallholder farmers for the school feeding programme is determined by law in Brazil and it promotes local development and boost the country’s economy.

“It is possible to change, it is possible not to treat hunger and poverty as natural. The State has to step up, if we don’t stablish this priority as a government’s goal nothing can be done”, added Ms. Campello.

Later, at the Ministry of Agrarian Development, the delegation was received by the acting minister, Maria Fernanda Ramos Coelho, and had the opportunity to know details of the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA), which buys food from smallholder farmers and distributes to social assistance institutions that take care of vulnerable or food insecure populations.

At the Ministry of Education, the acting minister, Luiz Claudio Costa, reminded the delegation that the school feeding programme in Brazil also started with a model based on international aid, with partners such as WFP, UNICEF and USAID, back in the 1950’s, and moved to a national model only in the 1990’s.

Costa also highlighted the importance of the partnerships between Brazil and African countries. “We have learned a great deal with the African countries and we have provided support to the development of technical capacities in the continent”, he said. According to him, after overcoming hunger, Brazil’s next challenge is to fight obesity, growing fast in the country. “We are assessing the possibility of launching a healthy school canteens programme, to ban fried food and soft drinks from all the schools, including the private ones”.

The delegation participated in two field trips near Brasília. In Formosa, in Goiás state, the visited a rural school, where they were greeted with a map of Africa drawn on the floor by the students. Following this visit, they went to a city school, to understand how the education system works in Brazil and to witness the distribution of school feeding to the students.

“I would like to say that our delegation does represents not only the countries present here. It represents the African Union. The entire Africa. We hope to be up to everything that we are going to see. We hope that the tree that was planted here can also be planted in Africa, said Dr. Ikounga at the school.

On the following day, the delegation went to a land reform settlement called Contagem, where they visited the rural property of Antonio and Maria das Dores Silva. The couple lives in the settlement for 16 years and they raise pigs and chicken and grow cassava, fruits and vegetables, besides producing honey. Part of their production is bought by the school feeding programme.

“Here we live in better conditions than in the city. I am a mother, a housewife, but I am also starting a bakery shop close to here”, Maria das Dores told. She is the president of the women association of the Contagem settlement. Thanks to the efforts of the association, the community managed to get a bus to make sure that youths and adults can attend classes.

“We already knew that the Brazilian women are famous for their beauty, but today we saw that besides being beautiful they are also hard workers. We are very impressed by their engagement and their capacity to act to change their lives and their communities”, said the head of the delegation, Dr. Ikounga.

Closing session

Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology of the African Union, at the closing ceremony

Photo: WFP/Isadora Ferreira

 

“School feeding is a social project that goes beyond education. What we saw here will help us establish similar initiatives in our countries and in the continental level. All of this happens through the support of the Centre of Excellence, which engaged us in the school feeding discussions”, said the minister of Education of Niger, Ms. Ali Mariama Elhadji Ibrahim.

Thomas Yanga, director of the WFP office for Africa, said that this visit to Brazil is just the beginning of a great change that has to be put in place in the entire African continent. “Our countries can more! Through the knowledge we already have and the knowledge that we can still acquire, we can feed our children”.

Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, northern regional minister of Agriculture of Ghana, said that this trip to Brazil was an eye-opener. “We already witnessed the multiple benefits of school feeding in Ghana. We hope to achieve good results in one specific area, but once we start to implement a school feeding programme we realize that we are solving many problems at once”.

The minister of Agriculture of Zimbabwe, Joseph Mtekwese Made, emphasized the gratitude of the whole group for the opportunity of coming to Brazil and learning about the Brazilian experiences. “We felt home and we were able to express our concerns”.

The chief of the delegation. Dr. Ikounga, thanked all participants of the mission, especially the ministers that attended the study visit. “We know how difficult it is to be absent of you miniter’s functions during an entire week”. He informed that the African Union, in partnership with the WFP Centre of Excellence and other WFP offices working in Africa, will conduct a study about the pertinence and the impact of school feeding all over Africa, to provide inputs for a continental initiative in school feeding.

The objective is to provide technical assistance for the African Union to take ownership of the issue and to adopt a continental initiative on school feeding

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger launched its 2014 Annual Report. The document highlights the Centre’s achievements and the challenges ahead. 

Since its creation three years ago, the Centre is involved in assisting more than 70 developing countries and 34 of which joined study visits to Brazil. Here they learned more about the Brazilian renowned experience in school feeding and in fighting hunger.

The numbers are impressive and they are already being translated in cases of success, like the support given by the Centre to Bangladesh and The Gambia. The government of Bangladesh has launched a restructuring plan of their national school feeding programme to follow Brazil’s strategy and expand the supply of hot meals instead of cookies in the schools; and The Gambia government draw a National School Feeding Action Plan after visiting Brazil with an ambitious objective: to move from a model supported by donors to a government-owned model, by 2020.

“In addition to the technical assistance to build governments’ capacity, the Centre of Excellence against Hunger also made efforts in the dissemination of ideas, concepts and best practices for overcoming hunger. For the second time, the Centre co-organized the Global Child Nutrition Forum (GCNF), a key platform for the mobilization of people, institutions and governments involved in promoting school feeding as an essential strategy to achieve the Zero Hunger Challenge”, highlighted the Centre of Excellence Director, Daniel Balaban, in the report’s presentation letter.

More than 250 people from 46 countries gathered in South Africa to discuss the role of nutrition as a key component of sustainable and effective school feeding programmes, linked to programmes aimed at strengthening local agriculture.

According to Balaban, the year of 2015 will be crucial to the definition of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “We believe that the partnership and the cooperation among countries will be central to the debate and will be fundamental for the achievement of these goals, as well as the Zero Hunger Challenge. The Centre of Excellence against Hunger is prepared to fulfil its role to support the countries that are committed to changing their destiny towards economic and social development”, he declared.

Download the full report here:

In French

In Portuguese

In English

Since its creation three years ago, the Centre is assisting more than 70 developing countries committed to finding their own solutions to hunger and poverty, through south-south cooperation and capacity building.

A river called Atlantic. This is how Alberto da Costa e Silva, one of the greatest Brazilian experts in Africa, describes the historical relation between Brazil and the African continent. Narrowed by centuries of exchanges and migration these strong links drove a group of school cooks and teachers from São Paulo to Senegal, this week.

Between 8 and 12 of June, two teachers and two school cooks from the Municipal Education Network visited Dakar, capital of Senegal. They joined a technical mission from the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

The trip was part of an award granted for the first place in the Education beyond the Plate Award, organized by São Paulo Municipality in partnership with the Centre of Excellence to stimulate the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the schools, prizing the cooks and teachers responsible by the meals.

Based on these success stories, the proposal of the trip was to promote the exchange of experiences between Brazil and Africa. During the travel, teachers and cooks had the opportunity to present the school feeding programme implemented in the city of São Paulo to ministers of Education from 17 African countries – gathered in Senegal for a regional meeting about school feeding promoted by WFP.

Study visit to rural area

But what is it that children eat in the schools of Senegal? What type of food is prepared? How the communities organized themselves for that? What are the main challenges? What is similar and what is different from what happens in Brazil?

To answer questions like these the São Paulo teachers and cooks crossed the Atlantic and visited Africa for the first time.

Brazilian cooks and teachers meet Senegalese students and school staff at Oudiour Primary Public School

Photo: WFP/Mariana Rocha

 

“We are having a unique opportunity to inspire African countries to develop their own public policies to fight food insecurity”, said Erika Fisher, director of the School Feeding Department in the Municipality of São Paulo, that accompanied the trip.

Besides Erika, the group was composed by the teacher Sonia Maria Maruso Ribeiro, the cook Maria Aparecida Gomes Martins, teacher Dirce Zilles G. Borges dos Santos, the pedagogic coordinator Vivian Brandão Polli and the cook Claudia de Jesus Silva.

Tuesday, the 9th, they visited Oudiour Primary Public School, supported by WFP via a Cash&Voucher programme. The school is located 160 km from Dakar, in Gossas department, in the region of Fatick.

The school, that dates from 1962 and it is one of the oldest in Senegal, has 184 students registered in five different grades.

There, school feeding means active participation from the children’s mothers (called in French “les femmes mammans”). They work in shifts to prepare the two daily meals: snack and lunch.

The visit allowed a rich exchange of experiences between São Paulo’s and Oudiour’s teachers and cooks. The Brazilian group was warmly welcomed in the school and joined a snack time –when a traditional mix of corn and peanut was served.

The Senegalese community was very interested in exchanging ideas with the Brazilians teachers because the school receives mostly donors’ visits. The São Paulo cooks were able to put themselves in the Senegalese cooks’ shoes and even exchanged some recipes.

“The visit to the school was historical! We could learn a lot about the local reality, besides providing a testimonial about the relevance of our programme and to show how it can inspire colleagues from other countries to look for new horizons”, said Erika.

Later, the group met the school board and the parents committee that is very involved in the school’s activities.

It was in this same school in Oudiour that WFP launched in 30 April a new project, "School Canteen via Cash Vouchers", which is spreading to 260 schools and six new regions across the country.

Instead of traditional food distribution, WFP supplies school canteens with cash vouchers so that they can purchase local food themselves, boosting the local economy and stimulating family farming.

Exchange of experiences

Back to Dakar, in the next day, the group did a presentation about their work in São Paulo to the participants of the regional workshop on school feeding, organized by the WFP Regional Bureau in Dakar and the WFP Centre of Excellence.

The group presented a brief history of the school feeding evolution in São Paulo, highlighting that they also once received support from WFP and that progress took decades to be built. 

The cooks shared some challenges they face in the promotion of healthy meals in the schools and told the story of the creation of one school garden that was possible because of the idea and determination of teacher Sonia.

Erika also gave details about the Brazilian school feeding programme. The cooks explained to the audiences how the meals are prepared in the Brazilian schools and presented their winning projects in the Education beyond the Plate Award.

See more pictures on our Facebook photo album!

From 8 to 12 June, two teachers and two school cooks from the São Paulo municipal public education network visited Dakar, capital of Senegal. They joined a technical mission of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger to exchange school feeding experiences with representatives of 23 African countries.

Dakar, in Senegal, hosted a Regional Workshop on School Feeding, from 8 to 12 June. Held by the WFP Regional Bureau Dakar and the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, the event had the goal of accelerating the transition to nationally owned school feeding programmes in the West and Central African regions.

On Monday and Tuesday, the event included only WFP staff members. Participants discussed two new WFP policies, the school feeding policy and the south-south cooperation policy. They had the opportunity to learn about the international and regional contexts and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the many stakeholders involved in south-south cooperation and school feeding initiatives. They also debated the mechanisms available to coordinate the WFP’s and its partners’ efforts in order to develop innovative approaches for both themes.

After this first moment of discussions, the event was open to other audiences, to include representatives of 23 countries, as well as the 31 WFP staff members. On Wednesday, representatives of the participating governments joined the WFP focal points to exchange best practices and innovations of their school feeding programmes. It was an opportunity for the governments to work together with WFP representatives in designing the pathway to transition to sustainable country-owned school feeding programmes.

The debates aimed at strengthening the capacities of the different governments of the region to develop, improve and sustain nationally owned school feeding programmes, in a context of new perspectives and emerging challenges for the post-2015 agenda. Most of the participating countries already adopted ambitious school feeding policies, and their challenge now is to implement it.

Alexandrina Vera Cruz, coordinator of the National School Feeding and Health Programme of Sao Tome and Principe, explained how the support Brazil is providing for her country is helping them move from a WFP-supported programme to a country-owned programme. “We were a baby that grew up in a sustainable crib”, she said.

The importance of south-south cooperation

Many of the participating countries highlighted the visit to Brazil, supported by WFP Country Offices and Regional Offices and by the Centre of Excellence against Hunger, as a new boost to their ongoing efforts to develop innovative and sustainable school feeding programmes. They also emphasised the importance of strategic vision and planning in the search for resources to fund school feeding, the role of the legal framework in supporting the programmes, and how the multisectorial engagement of governments is crucial for the effectiveness of the policies.

The São Paulo delegation, composed by the winners of the Education beyond the Plate Award, presented the municipality’s school feeding programme to contribute to the discussions. They also presented the award, an initiative of the city hall, supported by the Centre of Excellence, to recognize the distinguished role of the school cooks in the promotion of healthy eating habits among school children.

On Thursday, the participants were divided into working groups to discuss the challenges for the transition to nationally owned programmes and their sustainability. From these discussions, the WFP Regional Bureau Dakar and the Centre of Excellence identified how they can support the governments to overcome these challenges.

The seminar was an opportunity to improve the quality of the technical support brought by the different WFP country offices, the Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the WFP Regional Bureau of Dakar, Johannesburg and Cairo to the governments. It was also an effort to promote south-south cooperation in the development of innovative and sustainable approaches for school feeding, by the establishment of the first francophone network of school feeding practitioners.

This Francophone School Feeding Network was launched on Friday, last day of the event, as a development of a meeting with West African countries held at the 2014 Global Child Nutrition forum, in Johannesburg last September. The meeting was an initiative of the minister of Education of Niger, and ministers from Benin, Senegal, Mali, Chad, Cape Verde, and Togo were in attendance. The Gambia and Côte D’Ivoire also sent representatives. The goal of this network is to expand the exchange of experiences about school feeding among francophone African countries.

Representatives of 23 countries  and 31 WFP staff members debate ways of accelerating the transition to nationally owned school feeding programmes in the West and Central African regions, during event organized by the Centre of Excellence and the WFP Regional Bureau Dakar.

The event will happen from the 28th September to the 2nd of October in the Salt Island, in Cape Verde, and it is being organized by the Centre of Excellence in partnership with the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and the government of Cape Verde through the Minister of Education and FICASE (Cabo Verdean Foundation of Social Action).

During the visit, the Cape Verdean Ministry of Education held a press conference in Praia to officially announce the forum. The declaration was made by the Minister of Education, Fernanda Marques, and by Felisberto Moreira, president of FICASE, responsible for the national school feeding programme in the country.

“To us, child nutrition is of special interest, particularly in the schools, and that is why this Forum is important to Cape Verde”, said the Minister. She also highlighted that the event’s objective is to put Cape Verde in the child nutrition world map.

Sharon also held meetings with United Nations representatives in the country and with members of the Brazilian embassy. Following, she visited the Salt Island to organize the logistic details of the Forum.

The last GCNF edition happened in South Africa and counted on the participation of more than 250 people, including 10 ministers and more than 60 authorities, representing 46 countries.

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger sent this week to Cape Verde its Programme Officer, Sharon Freitas. She stayed three days in the country for a preparatory meeting to organize the next Global Child Nutrition Forum (GCNF).

 

As part of the technical assistance mission that the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger is providing to the government of Bangladesh, the consultant Nadia Goodman visited this week two schools located in Dhaka’s low-income areas.

Since March 30 she is in the capital, where she will stay for three weeks to support the government and the WFP country office in preparing a national seminar about school feeding, scheduled for June this year.

The two schools visited are part of the school feeding programme since 2009. The snacks are made out of fortified biscuits handed over daily to more than 1.500 children registered in the Sher-e-Bangla Government Primary School in Mirpur and in a learning center inside Bhasantek slum, ran by local NGO BRAC.

Many of those children go to school every morning without having an adequate breakfast. The WFP school feeding programme in Dhaka targets the ultra-poor population living in slums and assists 92.252 children in 573 schools – 114 Government Primary Schools and 459 NGO-run schools.

With the fortified biscuits, it is possible to feed each children during the complete school year for only US$ 30. An advantage of the school feeding programme is the increase of school’s enrolment. Since 2009, the average rate attendance improved by 22%.

According to Goodman, anecdotal feedback from teachers and parents revealed that students are less frequently absent as a result of illness, and are more attentive in class. “Evidently, urban school feeding has had an extremely positive impact on the health and wellbeing of ultra-poor school children, providing them with an opportunity to receive a meaningful education and break away from the cycle of poverty”, explains the consultant.

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger consultant Nadia Goodman visited two schools located in Dhaka’s low-income areas. The three weeks mission objective is to support the Bangladesh government and the WFP country office in preparing a national seminar about school feeding

 

On 8 and 9 April, Senegal hosted the International Seminar about Social Protection in Africa. The event, a first of its kind, gathered 12 African countries and the Brazilian government to share experiences and promote the debate about social protection.

Organized in partnership by the African Union, Brazil, Senegal, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Instituto Lula, the seminar also counted with the participation of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, represented by the head of Programme, Christiani Buani.

Most part of the African countries experienced significant economic growth and social advances in the last decades. Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya, for example, adopted broad social protection policies such as school feeding and cash transfer.

“Social protection measures anchored in human rights and in social, economic and environmental sustainable development have the power to alleviate poverty, increase resilience in the medium class in Africa and boost the transformation of the continent”, said the UNDP deputy-director, Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, during her speech in the opening ceremony of the event in Dakar.

In the South-South cooperation context, the seminar has the objective to foster bridges between African countries and Brazil – internationally recognized by its cash transfer programme, Bolsa Familia, that contributing for lifting millions out of poverty in the country through integrated social policies involving the crucial areas of health and education

Senegal held a seminar about social protection in Africa. The event, organized by the Brazilian government, the African Union and UNDP, was attended by 12 African countries to share experiences.

 

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the WFP West Africa Regional Bureau undertook a joint mission to support Benin and Togo in their efforts to develop school feeding strategies. The mission was the planning step to respond to the governments’ request for technical support in the design and implementation of national school feeding programmes.

The mission was composed of Christiani Buani, head of the Programme Unit at the Centre of Excellence, Omar Benamour, School Feeding and Social Protection officer at the Regional Bureau, and Erika Oliveira, Centre of Excellence’s school feeding consultant. The mission was in Togo from March 30 through April 1, and in Benin from April 2 through 5. Erika Oliveira will be in Benin and Togo for one month along with two national consultants, to assist both countries putting in place the operational plan for their national school feeding policies.

Both Benin and Togo approved national school feeding policies and are now in the phase of designing the programmes in terms of financial mechanisms, operational structures, establishing the link with local smallholder farmers, and creating the institutional framework, which includes establishing coordination among the ministries and governmental institutions that need to contribute to the programmes. Benin and Togo participated in a study visit to Brazil, organized by the Centre of Excellence in 2014.

Togo

In Togo, the mission met with the minister of Education, Florent Badjam Maganawé, who reaffirmed the government’s commitment to develop the national school feeding programme. He also mentioned his intention of engaging in the coordination of the different ministries in order to maximize resources and multiply the benefits.

The participants of the mission met with the school feeding committee, composed by representatives of the ministries of Health, Social Development, Education, Agriculture, Local Development and others. Many of the members of this committee were part of the delegation that participated in the study visit to Brazil. As a result of the study visit, the government of Togo requested the continued support from the Centre of Excellence to develop the country’s school feeding policy. The mission also met with other institutions that can contribute to the execution of the programme, such as the World Bank.

Benin

The WFP delegation met with the minister of Plan and Development, Marcel Alain de Souza, who is responsible for managing many aspects of the relationship between the government of Benin and WFP. They also discussed with the director of the school feeding programme the next steps of the WFP support to the programme and the challenges they are facing to advance the implementation of their plan.

Another important meeting was with the secretary-general and technical staff of the Ministry of Agriculture. They also met the local UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to discuss points of common interest and further cooperation. They also had a chance to discuss the post-study visit activities.

In both countries, the mission worked with the governments to approve the terms of reference for the consultants’ activities during the following month.

Benin and Togo received a special support from WFP. A joint mission by the WFP Centre of Excellence and WFP West Africa Regional Bureau visited the two countries to provide technical assistance in the design and implementation of their national school feeding programmes.

 

The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger participated in a training organized by Mozambique WFP Country Office and WFP headquarters about social protection and safety nets. The goal of the training was to capacitate the WFP staff on the basic concepts of social protection, safety nets and food and nutrition security. The event was also an opportunity to share WFP’s approach to social safety nets with external partners, including the Mozambican government, UN agencies, and cooperating NGOs.

From 9 to 13 of March, around 20 people discussed the roadmap of WFP’s work on social protection. The Brazilian experiences in safety nets, like the Zero Hunger Strategy, the conditional cash transfer programme Bolsa Família, the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA), and the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), served as inspiration for the discussions in Mozambique, which aimed at establishing how safety nets can contribute to tackle a country’s vulnerability and poverty and build resilience.

Vinícius Limongi, member of the Centre of Excellence’s Programme Unit, and Nadia Goodman, Centre’s consultant, went to Mozambique to present the Centre’s experience in sharing knowledge and engaging governments in initiatives to create sustainable solutions to fight hunger and poverty, through the design and implementation of public policies. More specifically, they explained the Unified Registry methodology, used by the Brazilian government as the main tool to identify the target audience of social programmes and to monitor the beneficiaries of such progammes.

Besides participating in the training, Vinícius Limongi also engaged in meetings with the Mozambique WFP country director, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action of Mozambique, and representatives of the Mozambican office of the UK Department for International Development (DFID). These meetings aimed at aligning the Mozambican partners in the Partnership for National Social Development Initiatives (PNSDI), conducted by the Centre of Excellence with support from DFID. Participate in this initiative Ethiopia, Zambia, Kenya, the Gambia, and Mozambique.

The WFP Centre of Excellence's team shared with the WFP Mozambique country office the Brazilian experiences in social protection and safety nets, including the Zero Hunger Strategy, the conditional cash transfer programme Bolsa Família and the Unified Registry methodology

From 2 to 6 March, a delegation from Sudan was in Brazil to participate in a study visit organized by the Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The purpose of the study visit was to exchange knowledge with the Brazilian government on the integration between school feeding and family farming. The Sudanese government has a pilot project in this area and wants to create a national school feeding policy.

The delegation of Sudan was composed of three government ministers and six other senior Sudanese government officials. They were accompanied by the director of WFP country office in Sudan, Adnan Khan, and WFP staff Maysaa Alghribawy, responsible for liaison with the Sudanese government. Abd Elghani Elnaim Awad Elkarim, Ambassador of Sudan to Brazil, also attended the study visit.

In order to understand the complex Brazilian system of social protection and the fight against hunger and poverty, the delegation participated in meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Fund for the Development of Education, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the National Supply Company (Conab) and the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (CONSEA). They had the opportunity to talk to the Minister of Agrarian Development, Patrus Ananias, and the National Secretary of Food and Nutritional Security of the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger, Arnoldo de Campos.

At the meeting with minister Ananias, Adam Abdalla Al-Nour Mohammed, Minister of Education of Sudan, said: "Brazil is one of the most successful cases worldwide of economic development and fight against poverty and hunger. It is a great chance for us to see for ourselves how Brazil has achieved it." The minister also stressed the similarities between Sudan and Brazil: "We have a situation similar to that of Brazil. We are a large country with a lot of land and natural resources, but we have food deficit despite these numerous resources. We want to establish a strategic cooperative relationship with Brazil to see how Brazil reached such good results in a short period of time."

Click here to see more pictures of the Sudan study visit.

Field trip

After meeting the political and institutional framework that underpin the implementation of programmes that integrate the Brazilian Zero Hunger strategy, especially the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), the Sudanese delegation participated in two field visits. At first, they visited Ceasa, central market for distribution of agricultural products in the Federal District. In Ceasa, delegates were able to see the markets for flower, organic products and fish, in addition to the Food Bank, a government agency that receives food products that are not in ideal condition for marketing and distributes them to social assistance entities.

They visited a public school in a poor community in the Federal District, known as Structural City, where they talked with teachers, cooks, the school director and the nutritionist responsible for school feeding. As part of the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), the school buys food from family farmers, mostly fruits, vegetables and yogurt. After that, the delegation had lunch in the Structural’s Popular Restaurant, which is part of the Brazilian government's strategy to increase access to nutritious food for a fair price.

On the second day of field visit, the Sudanese were accompanied by technicians of the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Enterprise (Emater-DF), partner of the Center of Excellence, to visit family farmers and an agricultural cooperative. They visited the Association of Rural Producers of Alexandre Gusmão, in Brazlândia, the Federal District, which includes 400 family farmers and provides food for the PNAE and the Food Acquisition Program (PAA).

With this visit, the Sudanese delegation could understand the steps required for the organization of the farmers in order to comply with all governmental requirements to supply food for governmental programmes, such as the PNAE and the PAA. They were also able to verify the importance of technical assistance to improve agricultural production.

At the end of study visit, the delegation of Sudan has prepared an action plan, which will be validated by the Sudanese government and will have the support of the Centre of Excellence for implementation.

The Centre of Excellence against Hunger hosted a study visit for a delegation from Sudan, composed of three State ministers and six other high-ranking officers of the Sudanese government. They were in Brasília for five days to learn about the Brazilian experience in fighting hunger and poverty.