The small Atlantic nation of Cape Verde took a major step towards defeating hunger recently as its government officially took full responsibility for the national school meals programme – a key plank in the country’s strategy for fighting poverty.
ROME – After more than 30 years of collaboration with WFP, the government of Cape Verde took full ownership of its national school meals programme on 7 September, 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.
Vera's Success Story
WFP School Feeding Chief Nancy Walters, explains the importance of 'handovers' like the latest in Cape Verde. Listen to the interview
Fight against poverty
Speaking at a celebration at WFP headquarters in Rome, the Cape Verdean Prime Minister, José Maria Neves, thanked WFP for helping his country improve its education system and fight poverty through the school meals programme.
“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.”
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.
Investment in future
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.