It takes a village to raise a child.
The wisdom of this proverb is reflected in the success of WFP’s School Feeding programme at Cawira primary school in Cahora Bassa district, Tete province. It is a concept that lies at the core of WFP’s School Feeding programme worldwide, which relies on local government partnerships and community involvement to support the schoolchildren’s education and health.
While WFP provides the food for the daily school meals, the programme’s sustainability and eventual transition to a nationally-owned, home-grown school feeding programme is promoted through ownership at the local level. The work done by community volunteers is key.
“The volunteers were involved in the building of the warehouses and kitchens, and now there are volunteer cooks who prepare the meals and bring water and wood for the kitchen,” says school headmaster Eduardo Boasse.
Julião Maiteni (42) has been volunteering at the school since the programme began in 2012.
“I’m very happy helping in the kitchen,” says Julião, whose children attend the school. “I’m pleased to help the children who study here.”
WFP provided training to the volunteers and school managers on a variety of subjects including how to use the improved stoves.
“I’ve learned how to cook proper meals for a lot of people and how to work as part of a team,” says Julião.
The most notable aspect of the collaboration between WFP, school managers, community volunteers and local authorities is its impact on the students themselves. Maida da Renata Marcelinho Banda, a student in grade three at Cawira, has been receiving schools meals for a number of years. Before the programme started, Maida sometimes had no food to bring to school because her parents were unable to provide it. Some days she would eat nothing at all.
“I like the food we eat at school,” says Maida. “The meals help me concentrate better in class and give me the energy to study.”
Maida’s enthusiasm for her studies is evident in her desire to one day become a teacher. In a country where less than 50 percent of children complete primary education - with the lowest completion rates in food-insecure districts - the provision of a daily meal is no small thing. For students like Maida, it means being able to focus on something besides a feeling of hunger. It means she can focus on doing her best at school.