© WFP/Camila Schindler
The Centre of Excellence against Hunger was launched jointly by the World Food Programme and Brazil in 2011 as a powerhouse of solutions for the defeat of hunger and malnutrition. A South-South bridge to food security, the Centre draws on Brazilian experience to share knowledge and policy innovations among developing countries. Primarily focused on linking school meal systems to local agriculture, it provides technical assistance to national governments to design, improve, expand, and eventually run their own school feeding programmes.
Fostering regional cooperation is at the heart of the Centre’s agenda, with the Sustainable Development Goals providing the political impetus. In 2015, a milestone was reached as more than 20 countries met in Dakar, Senegal to create an African School Feeding Network; the terms included a boost in national budgets for school meals programmes. The number of members continues to grow.
The more it is coupled with wider social development initiatives such as smallholder farming, the more school meals acts as a powerful strategy to overcome hunger and boost local economies. This is why the Centre of Excellence provides broader technical assistance in nutrition, smallholder agriculture and social protection. The Centre has been expanding its services, as demand grows from countries increasingly convinced that Zero Hunger can be achieved.