A delegation from YUM Brands recently visited communities where WFP supports school feeding programmes and works with smallholder farmer associations in Ecuador. In these communities the persistence of poverty and malnutrition disproportionally affect young children, women and indigenous people. Malnutrition has many faces: According to ENSANUT 2012 survey, 25.3 percent of children under five in Ecuador suffer from chronic malnutrition.
The first school YUM Brands visited was in the remote community of Pimampiro, where some children walk for hours to get to school. When they arrive they are hungry and tired. The nutritious breakfast of juice and a granola bar and a lunch of rice, vegetables and lentils help them learn and play. Some of the vegetables for their school meals are grown, with the help of WFP, in their school vegetable garden and the rest are purchased by WFP and the provincial government from the local smallholder farmers associations.
The smallholder farmer associations work closely with WFP and the local government to deliver fresh vegetables to schools that participate in school feeding programmes every week. WFP has helped establish farmer associations and community gardens across the region in order to increase the financial and food security of smallholder farmers. These activities also allow WFP to purchase much of the food it distributes locally. Working with WFP and the local government, the smallhold farmer associations now have a guaranteed market with strong standardized pricing, allowing the associations to grow and diversify their crops.
WFP has been supplying school meals at this school in Tocanga since September 2013. The principal tells the YUM Brands delegation how the attendance rate has improved, and students are not as tired and can concentrate throughout the day. Nutritious school meals are important in this rural community where many of the parents leave for the fields at 6:00 am and don’t return until the evening.
Blanca, a 25 year old indigenous woman, is the president of the local smallholder farmer association in Otavalo that supplies fresh vegetables to local schools. In the picture is one of their fields, she explained how WFP and the local government helped to formalize their association, diversified their crops and encouraged women to participate. She said that working together they now receive a fair market price for their produce.
Meet the YUM Brands team; from left to right: Clare, Mary, Sarah, Darren, Alysha and Alicia.
“It was important for me to see how WFP works with farmers to build a sustainable community” said Sarah, “I couldn’t be prouder of our company and the work that we do to help raise money to support the World Food Programme.”
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