In the urban slum areas of Madagascar, the World Food Programme (WFP) school meals programme helps support children to attend school and keep them there, providing them with hope for a better future.
Some families are not able to sustain their food needs
It’s 7.00 and Marie is getting ready to attend school - she is ten-years-old and lives in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Namontana in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. Marie's father, who passed on some years ago, has left her mother, Marceline, to financially care for Marie and six of her eight brothers and sisters. When money is available, Marie has some bread and tea for breakfast. But sometimes Marceline’s modest and irregular earnings from washing laundry are not enough to sustain her family’s food and other needs.
WFP school meals help improve studies
Marie is lucky. She can attend classes at Namontana Primary Public School where she and her classmates receive a hot meal every school day, thanks to the urban school feeding programme operated by WFP.
“I’m really happy, as I can concentrate better at school,” she say. “Now I’m starting to receive higher grades in my two favorite subjects - geography and Malagasy.”
Supporting underprivileged children with school meals
This programme is designed to support underprivileged children to attend school located in poor urban areas and keep them there to continue their studies.
Participating schools are included on the basis of an urban vulnerability assessment and school performance. School feeding is one of the Ministry of Education’s priorities to improve access to basic education.
“In addition to an increased attendance, our students are healthier as they receive hygiene-related lessons such as hand-washing before lunch,” explains the school director. “They also benefit from deworming campaigns that are supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.”
Encouraging parents to send their children to school
School meals encourage parents to send their children to school to complete at least their primary education. Community members work alongside parents and teachers to ensure the smooth running of everything from food storage to the cooking and serving of meals.
“I’m proud of her because she’s the only one of my children who will have the chance to continue her education and hopefully become a primary school teacher, which is her ambition,” says Marie’s mother, Marceline.
Reaching the urban poor in Madagascar
WFP’s school feeding programme reaches nearly 250,000 children in poor urban areas of Antananarivo, Toamasina and Tuléar and in the drought-hit south of Madagascar. It is made possible by donors including Canada, Norway and the Global Partnership for Education managed by the World Bank.