Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin discussed the link between nutrition and education at an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to launch the "Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds" partnership with UNICEF and UNESCO. Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud

WFP is teaming up with UNICEF, UNESCO and partners in the private sector to expand children’s access to education and nutritious food. The “Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds” partnership will focus on four countries marked by high levels of malnutrition and low levels of schooling.

DAVOS—A renewed partnership between WFP, UNESCO and UNICEF will aim to improve access to quality education for many of the world’s most underserved children, agency heads announced Thursday on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds

The “Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds,” partnership will strengthen collaboration between the three agencies, beginning with a three-year pilot phase in Haiti, Mozambique, Niger and Pakistan.

“This is not a new programme. It’s a better collaboration of efforts, working together better for those we serve,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

WFP’s role in the partnership will focus on its school meals programme, which provides nutritious meals to over 20 million children around the world. 

Cousin explained that in addition to providing children with the vitamins and energy they need to learn and grow, school meals also “act as a magnet,” giving children an incentive to come to class. 

She was joined in the announcement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake took part with a video message.

“Hunger and poor nutrition can destroy a child’s ability to learn and flourish,” said the Secretary-General, explaining that the partnership combined his top three development priorities: health, nutrition and education.

Partners against hunger

Also at the year's meeting of the World Economic Forum, WFP honoured several individuals for their commitment in the fight against global hunger and malnutrition. DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma and Unilver CEO Paul Polman together received the 2013 Partner in Progress Award while Director of Oxfam GB Dame Barbara Stocking and UN Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition David Nabarro received the Food & Nutrition Humanitarian Award 2013.