by Kawinzi Muiu
KAMPALA -- They came they saw, they touched, they smelled, they tested, they heard. They left convinced that their countries can do this.
The side event organized by NEPAD and WFP included panel discussions on nutrition, maternal and child health, home-grown school feeding, dietary diversity and food fortification and biofortication. WFP was the lead agency for the Home grown school feeding (HGSF) panel which included Madame Loan Lago Daleba, Director National School Feeding Programme, Government of Cote d’Ivoire; Ms Margaret Ndanyi, Head School Health, Meals and Nutrition Unit Ministry of Education, Kenya; Nancy Walters, Chief School Feeding WFP(PSS).
- I think we can implement this model in my country
- We can arrange for knowledge transfer to my country
- You mean children eat this great sauce?
- I want to come to visit Cote D’ivoire and see this project
- This we can do in the some parts of our country
- We would like to buy the same processing machine to use in our country
- We too can start small and build your success in our country
To drive the message home there were exhibitions on food and nutrition covering the elements of food production, processing, fortification, diversity, etc. Part of the show and tell was about the different models of Home Grown School Feeding from Uganda (packed lunch programme), Malawi (locally produced fortified CSB) and Cote D’ivoire’s (women farmers groups supply food for school meals). The purpose of the exhibition was to show to the AU participants the success stories of HGSF on the African continent.
The Cote D’ivore exhibit, organised by Madame Loan and three of her staff and displayed commodities used in their food basket for HGSF. Most of the commodities are produced by the local women farmers- a third for home consumption, a third given to the school and a third sold. To capture the process from beginning to the end, Madame Loan displayed photographs of women farmers, cooks, managers, community leaders and organizers engaged in the productive process.
The exhibitors welcomed many, including Ministers from Agriculture, Environment, Fisheries, Foreign Affairs; and professors, nutritionists, doctors, nurses, teachers, CEOs, permanent secretaries, Ambassadors, and journalists. The highlight for all was when WFP’s Executive Director, Josette Sheeran and Madame Sisulu , DED, accompanied Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger, now Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the AU’s The New Partnership for Africa’s Development to visit. Madame Loan from Cote D’ivoire explained to them passionately how the project has put money in the pockets of women; transformed their lives; empowered the community; fed children nutritious meals and encouraged them to go to school. The ED spoke about the power of school feeding as platform for multiple benefits covering education, nutrition, health, gender, value transfer, social–economic benefits and how new partnerships involving NEPAD, WFP, the World Bank and the Partnership for Child Development are supporting national governments to develop and roll these programmes out across the continent.
Another highlight was the visit by the professor JJ Otim- the senior Presidential Advisor Government of Uganda and professor Richard Mkandawire, of AU-NPCA. Professor Otim said he would like to include the Cote D’ivoire case in his book on success stories from Africa. Professor Mkandawire said other countries must learn from the good examples such as Cote D’ivoire HGSF.
The exhibition was a huge success in showcasing Home-grown School feeding.