ROME – After more than 30 years of collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), the Government of Cape Verde has today taken full ownership of its national school meals programme, setting an example for many other developing countries to follow.
The school feeding programme in the Atlantic Cape Verde islands started in 1979, after the country gained independence in 1975. At that time it relied entirely on WFP for financial, operational and logistical support. From 2007 the Government began taking over the management and implementation of the programme, with its share of the funding gradually increasing from 15 percent and reaching 100 percent this year.
“The activities of the World Food Programme have contributed greatly to the success of the Cape Verdean education system, the fight against poverty and the promotion of social inclusion,” said the Cape Verdean Prime Minister, José Maria Neves, at a celebration today with WFP's Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, at WFP headquarters in Rome.
“Without the work of WFP, the school meals programme would not exist. School meals allow us to improve children's nutrition, which adds to the development of human capital in Cape Verde. This is a strong investment in the future, one that we hope will strengthen social cohesion and enhance the quality of life for Cape Verdeans.”
For her part, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said Cape Verde had set an example for the rest of the world. “The leadership and commitment by the Cape Verdean Government to the future of hungry children is exemplary a success story we can all be proud of and one we’d like to replicate around the world,” she said.
A daily meal at school is an effective means to help children to develop healthy minds and bodies – an investment in their future and the future of their country. A nourishing meal at school helps improve school attendance, while allowing children to concentrate better during class time.
WFP’s work in Cape Verde will continue, in the form of programme support to the Goverment, with an eye to achieving cost effectiveness, coverage and local procurement of food.
Since 1993, eight African countries are among the 38 nations to have succeeded in making the transition to complete national ownership of their school meal programmes. Cape Verde is the first such country in Central and West Africa and is well on track to achieve most of its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015.
WFP has been implementing school feeding programmes for 45 years and is now providing a daily school meal for 22 million children in more than 60 countries.
For Further Information:
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-653 1149, Mob. +1-202-390 2579
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646-8241112
Vichi de Marchi, WFP/Rome. Tel. +39 06 6513 2058, Mob. +39 348 051 7605