A pot of Supercereal porridge bubbles on the stove at the Gangaol Primary School in Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region, located in the northern tip of the country. WFP is providing school meals to all primary school children in this region, including one hot meal and a snack daily. This is vital in a region where food insecurity is high and enrolment levels low; 41 % of children here suffer from chronic malnutrition, and enrolment is at just 44 percent, far below the national average (80 percent).
Volunteers from the surrounding villages, often mothers of students, prepare and serve the meals. Though the Supercereal is an imported product, some 70 percent of the food (including maize and beans) for school feeding in 2012 was purchased on the local market in Burkina Faso, boosting the country’s economy.
A group of boys finishes up every last drop of porridge. WFP Burkina Faso’s school feeding program has seen impressive results: since its inception in 2004, enrolment rates in the country’s Sahel Region have risen from 37% to 44.4 % in 2012.
A group of girls enjoys a mid-morning snack of Supercereal porridge. School meals provide a strong incentive for parents to send their children, especially girls, to school. In addition to school meals, WFP Burkina Faso provides monthly 10 kilogram take-home rations of maize or sorghum to 11,000 girls in the last two years of primary school as a further incentive to families to keep their girls in school. In Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region, enrolment among girls has increased substantially, from 32% percent in 2004 to 43 % in 2012
There is little talk as students enjoy their bowls of warm porridge. WFP Burkina Faso is grateful to the Governments of Brazil, Germany, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, whose contributions have made the school meals programme in Burkina Faso possible. WFP requires US$ 5 million each year to sustain the programme.
Aissatou Diallo, 11, carefully washes her bowl before class resumes. WFP Burkina Faso’s school feeding programme faces shortages in all commodities starting in January 2014; funding is urgently needed so that children like Aissatou continue to receive their school meals. A suspension of school meals in the middle of the year could have a drastic impact on drop-out rates.