Rwanda to implement school feeding programme after study visit to Brazil

This week the Centre engaged in a mission to Rwanda to discuss the next steps in the development of a nationally owned school feeding programme.

WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger visited Rwanda to follow-up on April´s study visit. The government of Rwanda and the visiting delegation composed of representatives from the Centre of Excellence, FNDE and ABC, agreed on a number of proposed next steps to implement the national school feeding programme.

The delegation, led by the Centre’s director Daniel Balaban and Programme Officer Christiani Buani, consulted with various Rwandan ministers, including Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi and Minister of Agriculture, Dr Agnes Kalibata, on topics such as the cost-effective nature of the programme, the institutional coordination and monitoring involved and the management necessary at a local level.

The mission, also joined by Brazilian Cooperation Agency, Julianna Rossetto and National Fund for Education Development, Eduardo Manyari, both representing the Brazilian government, also met with technical teams and farmers´ cooperatives and visited a factory that supplies school feeding programmes.

"After initiating the programme in Brazil it benefited over 47 million school children. They use their own food and money to feed their children, that’s what we want also to establish", said Kalibata.

The WFP Rwanda Country Office will be also playing an important role in facilitating the transition toward a nationally owned program.“The Government of Rwanda has stated its desire to develop a nationally owned home-grown school feeding programme with a high degree of community ownership and gradually reduce its current reliance on external support,” Abdoulaye Balde, WFP Rwanda Country Director, said to The New Times daily.

Learn more about Rwanda school feeding initiatives

WFP-assisted school feeding in Rwanda currently reaches over 360,000 children in over 300 schools. In recent years WFP Rwanda has sought to integrate community-owned approaches into the sourcing and distribution of food, whilst the government has shown eagerness to support a transition to a national school feeding programme supplied by locally farmed produce. In April the Centre hosted a delegation from the Rwandan government interested in learning about mechanisms and institutional coordination for home-grown school feeding programmes and how they are implemented by local managers (see photos here). Indeed, the Rwandan government is already active in improving child nutrition, such as the One Cup of Milk per Child programme; scaling up this initiative to establish comprehensive school health and feeding that include local stakeholders is the next step.