News / Africa

African Countries Feeding Students With Local Produce

At least five African countries have set up "home grown school feeding" initiatives aimed at improving child nutrition and developing local agricultural markets.

For Kenyan education official Nur Guleid, there is no food like home-grown food. "We have gone out to monitor at the school level.  They said they enjoy it [the food] because the food is fresh, they get it when they want it, it is easily accessible and available, and they are very happy about this program," Guleid said.

The Kenyan government gives money to schools in 36 districts reaching nearly 600,000 students.  A management committee in each school uses the money to purchase produce directly from farmers within a 50-kilometer radius of the school.

Farmers and school officials are connected through the Ministry of Agriculture's Eradication of Hunger in Kenya program.

Everyday in participating schools, each child receives 150 grams of cereals, most commonly maize, 40 grams of pulses, usually beans, five grams of oil used to cook the food, and salt.  Typically, the lunch meal is a stew consisting of maize and beans, called "githeri" in one local language.

Guleid says the program has made a huge impact, especially on the poor. "The children would have not come to school were it not for this food.  It takes them to school, it also keeps them in school [and] helps them improve on their performance and also their cognitive abilities," Guleid said.

Kenya is one of five African countries that have an active "home grown school feeding" initiative.  Programs are also found in Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Mali.  Other countries such as South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia are also setting up similar initiatives.

In these programs, local farmers supply produce to schools to feed students, with the aim of improving child nutrition and developing local agricultural markets.

The "home grown school feeding" initiatives are supported by a partnership of groups including the World Bank, the World Food Program, the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, and other agricultural, children's and women's groups.

One such partner is the London-based The Partnership for Child Development, which advises governments and organizations on how to coordinate links between farmers and schools.

Partnership for Child Development Home Grown School Feeding Coordinator Kristie Neeser says for many governments procuring food locally is a new and unusual concept.

"Over the years, a lot of it [food for schools] has been external aid coming in from other countries like the U.S. and the U.K.  Creating a new understanding about the opportunities for supporting local economic development within the countries has been a shifting of mindset," Neeser said.

When food is procured locally, individual farmers or farmers' cooperatives earn income from selling their produce to the schools.

Kenyan farmer Ruth Kihanga supports her three children by selling her beans and maize to a school near the town of Thika.  She also purchases food from other farmers to sell to the school, creating a network of grateful farmers.

"I have a small shop.  This shop I use to sell some [cooking] fat, sugar, soap and such things.  Those farmers who I buy maize from, then they come to buy some items in my shop," Kihanga said.

But farmers are not the only ones to benefit.

In Nigeria, the government transfers funds to the bank accounts of cooks, who use the money to purchase food from local markets.  Each cook prepares food for 50 children.  

"This has created nearly 3,000 jobs for these local women who are employed by the program.  The community members are involved in the hiring process for the cooks.  There is really strong monitoring at the local grassroots level.  Every week, each kid is supposed to receive one egg, and they do not receive the egg their parents will call in to the program and say, 'the cook has not provided the egg for the kids this week,'" Neeser said.

The Ivory Coast government, which feeds more than one million schoolchildren each day through its program, gives agricultural inputs to women-farmers' groups.  One third of what the women produce goes to the home grown school feeding program.

Food purchased in the program typically consists of local staple crops such as rice, maize, millet, sorghum, as well as local vegetables such as spinach, leafy greens, sweet potatoes.

Most programs supply the schools with one meal a day, either at breakfast or lunchtime.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid