Since 2006, the abolition of school fees in Benin and the impact of WFP and other education-related programmes have led to considerable progress towards achieving universal primary education by 2015. But notable disparities remain between urban and rural areas and among districts in enrolment, retention, gender balance, repetitions and drop-outs. A correlation has been made between poverty and chronic malnutrition and low enrolment in primary schools in vulnerable areas.
Development project Benin 200045 will continue to support the Government’s strategy for universal primary education by 2015, in line with the National Plan for the Development of the Education Sector, which identifies school feeding as a priority government instrument.
The project will be implemented in 22 districts in the six departments of Alibori, Borgou and Atacora in the north, and Atlantique, Zou and Ouémé in the south. All these districts have net enrolment rates below the national average and high levels of poverty and malnutrition. Special attention will be given to six of the 22 districts – So-Ava, Kalalé, Gogounou, Karimama, Malanville and Segbana – where primary school enrolment rates are below 50 percent; all pre-primary and primary schools in these districts will be assisted. The WFP-assisted activity will support 364 schools and 117,000 pupils in addition to the government school feeding programme.
The main objectives of the development project are to: i) help to increase access to education and human capital development; ii) enhance capacities to sustain a national school feeding programme; and iii) stimulate agricultural and economic development by linking school feeding with local production. Under the development project, beneficiaries will receive a school meal designed to cover a third of their daily needs. The project will contribute to WFP Strategic Objectives 4 and 5 and to Millennium Development Goals 1 and 2.
During the project, WFP will prioritize support for the formulation and implementation of a national school feeding policy. The project’s objectives are reflected in Benin’s current Strategic Framework for Poverty Alleviation (2007–2010), the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2009–2013) and the National Plan for the Development of the Education Sector (2006–2015).
WFP’s hand-over strategy will consist of a gradual transfer of WFP-supported schools to the Government while building capacity at the national and decentralized levels. The project aims to promote sustainable conditions for operating school feeding and increased capacities for efficient transfer of school feeding to the Government.