Britain Supports School Meals In Areas Affected By Food Shortages In Malawi

Published on 22 March 2013

LILONGWE – The UK Government, through UKaid, has contributed US$7.8 million (£5 million pounds sterling) to the  United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)  to help provide school meals to children in Malawi.  

The contribution will benefit nearly 770,000 children in 683 primary schools in food-insecure districts of central and southern Malawi. It will also enable WFP to support more than 5,000 children in 35 Community-based Childcare Centres, and provide take-home rations for more than 24,000 girls and orphan boys in primary schools.

“Providing a daily ration of Likuni Phala (locally-made corn soya blend) for children at school means they get the food they need to concentrate on their lessons,” says Dr. MacPhil Magwira, Malawi Secretary for Education. “It also means that they are more likely to stay in school and get an education, which will help them move out of poverty.”

Under WFP’s school meals programme, children receive a daily mid-morning serving of fortified Super Cereal (Likuni Phala) porridge which gives them vital sustenance so they can concentrate on their lessons.

“We are aware that this is a difficult time for Malawi and Malawians, with food insecurity in parts of the country and rising prices of maize and other essential commodities. The UKaid support for school feeding is part of our efforts to help protect the most vulnerable, particularly children,”  says Sarah Sanyahumbi, Head of DFID Malawi.  “We are also aware that, when facing food shortages, households sometimes have to resort to taking children out of school to look for food or work, or providing fewer or lower quality meals. We hope these school meals, alongside the ongoing cash and food transfers in the most affected areas, will help reduce the need for families to cope in ways which compromise their children’s future.”

Schools which provide these regular meals are also shown to have better enrolment and attendance records. Monthly take-home rations of maize are also given out during the lean season (January-March) to girls and orphaned boys in standards 7-8 as an incentive to reduce dropping out from school.

“School Meals contribute to increasing the percentage of girls and boys accessing and completing pre-primary and primary education,” says WFP Country Director a.i. Baton Osmani.  “During times of food shortage, school meals are a crucial safety net to protect children from hunger, and ensure that the education process is not disrupted.”

This contribution will enable the continuation of school meals in 13 districts in southern and central Malawi. Food insecurity was the main criterion for selecting the districts.

For more information on WFP’s work in Malawi, visit our dedicated country page:
http://www.wfp.org/countries/malawi

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

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Contact:
Pamela Kuwali, Public Information Officer, WFP/Lilongwe
Tel. +265 1774 66, Email: Pamela.Kuwali@wfp.org

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DFID will spend an average of £93 million per year in Malawi until 2015 to help implement the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS). For more details see: http: www.dfid.gov.uk/where-we-work/africa-eastern--southern/malawi
 
Contact
Andrew Massa, Programme Manager, DFID Malawi
Email: a-massa@dfid.gov.uk

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Mr. Charles Mazinga, Deputy Director of School Health and Nutrition, Ministry of Education Science and Technology Lilongwe, Malawi
Tel: +265  01 789 404 Email: Charlesmazinga@gmail.com