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Brazil and WFP Launch the Centre of Excellence Against Hunger

WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, addresses Brazilian government officials and attendees during the launch of the WFP Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil. (Copyright: WFP/Alejandro López-Chicheri)

The Centre of Excellence, located in the capital city of Brasilia, will assist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by drawing upon the expertise of WFP and Brazil in the fight against hunger, while promoting sustainable school feeding models and other food and nutrition safety nets from across the world.

Salvador, Bahia, (Brazil)– The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Brazil launched today the Centre of Excellence Against Hunger, which aims to help countries improve, expand, and eventually run their own national school meal programmes to advance the nutrition, education and food security of school children.

“As a world champion in the fight against hunger, Brazil has a wealth of experience that can be shared with governments eager to learn how they achieved that success and adapt it to their own countries,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. “The Centre of Excellence will provide a unique South-South bridge to ending hunger. Brazil has taken the fight against hunger and malnutrition seriously and is now among those defeating hunger faster than any nation on earth. We will partner to leverage this success to other nations seeking to end hunger and malnutrition.”

The Centre of Excellence, located in the capital city of Brasilia, will assist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by drawing upon the expertise of WFP and Brazil in the fight against hunger, while promoting sustainable school feeding models and other food and nutrition safety nets. The Centre has already launched partnership between WFP, Brazil, and Mozambique, East Timor, and Haiti.

Governments will also be able to develop and improve their own nationally-owned and led programmes, by accessing a global platform to exchange information about school meals and best practices of their own school meals programmes.

The Centre will be headed by Daniel Balaban, who has helped to provide school meals to more than 47 million children when he was the President of the Brazilian National Education Development Fund.

Brazil is well known for the success of its Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) strategy for reducing poverty and food insecurity and its school meals programme, which reaches about 45 million children per year. Each day in 60 countries around the world, WFP provides school meals to around 22 million children.

While in Brazil, WFP Executive Director also plans to meet President Dilma Rousseff, and commend Brazil for its resolve to continue the fight against hunger at home and abroad. “I want to thank you for your leadership, for showing us what can be done to fight hunger at home, and also for your growing role in helping WFP on the frontlines against hunger around the world,” said Sheeran.

Sheeran had advanced the Centre during a 2010 trip to study the successes of Brazil’s Fome Zero program.  “Last year, I visited school feeding and community kitchens outside Brasilia to witness how Brazil has set the benchmark by integrating vital elements – from supporting small farmers to feeding schoolchildren - to deliver on every person’s right to food and sufficient nutrition,” said Sheeran. “Together with Brazil, we are sharing that knowledge with the rest of the world.”