A delegation from YUM Canada recently visited WFP school meals programmes in Bolivia. They were able to see two schools in the Chuquisaca region where the children receive nutritious meals each day. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America: of it 10.4 million population, more than a half – 69 percent in rural areas – live below the poverty line. Over the last ten years, stunting in children under 5 has remained at 27 percent nationally and 39 percent in rural areas.
The first school YUM visited, the Waca Huasi Community School has been supported by WFP for the last three years. The children enjoy warm milk and bread for breakfast and rice with a variety of vegetables for lunch. The wheat flour is fortified with added vitamins and minerals, the cooking oil has added vitamin A and the salt is iodized – all adding to the nutritionally diet of the students.
WFP have installed a fuel efficient stove in the kitchen were the volunteer parents take it in turns to cook the school meals. These stoves use a third less fuel which is kinder to the environment requiring a lot less wood. The chimney directs the cooking fumes out of the kitchen preventing smoke inhalation and making for a safer working environment.
Eleven year old Jimber waters the vegetables in the school greenhouse with the watering bottle the students made themselves. The parents, teachers and students help to build the greenhouse, the vegetable garden, the tools and the fertilizer and insecticide. Now they get to enjoy these healthy vegetables in their lunch every day. “At home the students mainly eat potatoes and maze, so the vegetables help complement their limited diet” said Kathleen Amizial from the YUM team.
The team where pleasantly surprised to see fortified wheat, iodized salt and vegetable oil with added vitamin A in the storeroom – all of which had been purchased locally with a contribution from the Government of Canada. Canada untied their food assistance in 2008 enabling WFP to purchase food locally benefiting the local economy and small holder farmers.
At the San Jorge de Collpa Community School some of the children walk for more than an hour to get to school. When they finally get to school they are hungry and tired and find it difficult to concentrate on their studies. But the nutritious breakfast and tasty lunch encourages their parents to send them and the children have the strength to learn and play.
Meet the YUM team; from left to right: Travis Foster, David Blanchard, Kathleen Amizial, Bethany Peckham and Dillon Fraser.. “It’s been an incredible experience” said Bethany, “I hope to bring this passion back to Canada so we can raise as much money as possible.”
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