For families unable to afford enough nutritious food for their children, school feeding is a powerful incentive for educational enrollment and class attendance. In Guinea, WFP provided meals to 107,400 primary school children last year. (Copyright: WFP/ Katharina Dirr).
As WFP launches a new approach to school feeding in Guinea, the country’s First Lady has called on the private sector and parliamentary groups to invest in the school meals programme. This renewed support reinforces WFP’s efforts to develop a sustainable, nationally-owned programme in the country.
CONAKRY—Across Guinea, 85 percent of the over 4,400 schools located in rural areas are in need of a school feeding programme. School meals are vital to improving nutrition and encourage parents to send their kids to school, and the government has been working with WFP to scale up and reach children in the most vulnerable areas of the country.
A lack of funding, however, has made expansion of the programme challenging.
Speaking to national institutions, partner organizations, the private sector and civil society, the First Lady of Guinea, Hadja Djénè Conde, appealed directly to the private sector and parliamentary groups for support. “I take this opportunity to launch an appeal to all companies and hope that different parliamentary groups will prioritize school feeding programmes,” she announced.
WFP is shifting its approach to focus on linking school feeding to local production, strengthening institutional capacity and helping the government to develop a national school feeding programme. By buying food locally for school canteens, the programme will support local agricultural production and the local economy.
The First Lady expressed her support for the shift towards local purchases. “The vision is to use school meals as an opportunity to improve the academic success of our children and promote local production,” she explained.
WFP Guinea is encouraging the Guinean State as well as technical and financial partners to join forces and expand school feeding programmes. WFP and representatives from key ministries are also working together to analyze the Government’s capacity and craft an action plan to transition to national ownership of the school feeding programme.
School meals help reduce hunger among school children and enhance their nutrition and health, improving their ability to learn and increasing future productivity as adults. Through its school feeding programme, WFP-Guinea provided meals to 107,400 primary school children last year.