In a small ceremony before the first delivery of the school feeding programme foods, in Padcaya, Tarija, local and departmental authorities honoured the joint effort of WFP and the municipality that created a sustainable programme that makes quality school meals possible.
"A day a child doesn’t eat is a day that will never be recovered," said Nilda Copa, Minister of Rural and Farm Development in the Department of Tarija.
Ms. Copa’s point illustrates the importance of WFP’s school feeding programme, and the need to make every effort to provide every child, in all schools in the department of Tarija, with a meal that will help them to stay focused in class and make the long walk from home to school, often several kilometers.
At a warehouse in the municipal capital, a group of teachers and parents (mainly mothers) wait for their name to be called in order to claim the food destined for their school. Among them is Juana Sánchez Flores, president of the school board of North Orozas, with her two children, and teacher Juan Carlos Perez. In their community, there are 12 students, grades first through fifth who attend a one teacher school house (Juana’s daughter, Dalma, age 8 is among them). "…We already have school breakfast that is given to us by the municipal government, but are grateful for the ration that WFP delivers to us, as it allows us to offer a healthy lunch at school, WFP provides us with the most costly foods... this will help us enormously " said Juana. Together with the school teacher, she will deliver food for 45 class days to their community consisting of; two quintals of fortified flour, 20.5 liters of Vitaminized oil and three kilos of iodized salt to be used until the next distribution.
WFP school meals enhances the national and local food production
"All food is purchased locally, thus enhancing the domestic market," said Sergio Torres, Chief of WFP's Programme Unit, to Departmental authority Nilda Copa, whose family in the community of Quebrada Honda, Yunchará , were beneficiaries of WFP’s "Food for Work" programme for many years, applauds the fact that WFP now purchases domestically produced foods. "Back then-WFP food said 'made in USA', and now says ‘made in Bolivia’ and this is in line with the focus of food sovereignty promulgating our new state constitution"
Nilda stated to all present that investing in feeding children is a priority of the governor of Tarija and is a vision driven by her and her office, since it was in its facilitating community centres PAN supported by WFP, understood the value of proper nutrition in children and its’ effects in the classroom.
In addition to enhancing the internal domestic market with the purchase of local products for school feeding, WFP also encourages the production of suitable foods for school meals at the local level and promotes its purchase by municipal governments, to stimulate local economic development and consumption of local foods in schools, produced and / or processed by smallholder farmers, commonly parents of the children attending the schools.