Investment of US$33 million from USDA will enable WFP and Haitian Ministry of Education to improve nutrition for students - 24 November 2023
The new agreement, valued at US$33 million, comes under the U.S. Department of Agriculture McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (McGovern-Dole) and will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
By providing school meals, WFP and USDA aim to increase school enrolment and student retention while improving literacy of school-age children and the quality of instruction in classrooms. A previous McGovern-Dole project provided school meals to approximately 100,000 students in Nord, Norde and Grand’Anse Department from September 2020 to July 2023.
Currently, WFP provides school meals to 460,000 students across the country with approximately half of those students receiving food that has been prepared using 100 percent Haitian-grown ingredients.
In line with the Government of Haiti’s strategy to use locally purchased commodities for school meals, the funds will be used for a combination of traditional and home-grown school meals. A total of 5,610 metric tons of U.S. donated commodities will be used to produce the meals, including vegetable oil, rice, beans, lentils and bulgur, in addition to 2,263 metric tons of Haitian-grown commodities, which will be locally purchased, including vegetables, flour and tubers.
“An incremental shift to local production is the way of the future and a top priority for WFP in Haiti. Over the past several years, WFP has nurtured a network of local producers and food processors in the south and central areas of the country. With this project, WFP will build the capacity of producers in the Nord and Nord-Est departments, which is a win-win scenario for both the smallholder farmers and students benefiting from the meals,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Country Director in Haiti.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, WFP will work with existing Organisations de Producteurs Agricoles (OPA) to ensure availability of facilities for the aggregation, packaging and marketing of fresh produce and dry commodities. WFP and partners will provide training to smallholder farmers, equipping them to provide sufficient high-quality products to supply the school meals programme, while enhancing business skills and conservation techniques.
Meanwhile, WFP and partners will collaborate closely with the Ministry of Education on activities aimed at enhancing the overall learning experience for students. It will also work with partners to build capacity at national and departmental levels on managing school meals programmes, including developing a financial strategy and guidance on collecting and handling data.
The project includes a strong element of engagement with local communities, through support to parent-teacher associations and the establishment of community savings and loans committees. It also aims to improve nutrition knowledge, gender awareness and hygiene practices through activities such as theatre productions, radio broadcasts, peer-to-peer education sessions, school gardens, and training on food preparation.
To create a healthy environment for the students, the project will provide hygiene training and distribute hygiene kits, while targeting the most vulnerable schools with the construction of handwashing stations and refurbishment of latrines.
The project also includes literacy and teacher training, providing literacy materials, school supplies, and teaching aids, including software. And it will facilitate peer tutoring and creative writing competitions for students and pedagogical training and support for teachers.
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The USDA McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (McGovern-Dole) funds school meals and education and nutrition programs for women, infants, and children in countries with high food insecurity. By providing school meals, teacher training, and related education and nutrition support, McGovern-Dole projects help boost school enrolment, increase attendance, and improve reading outcomes and literacy results. The program provides for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities, local and regional procurement of agricultural commodities, and financial and technical assistance to support school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects. For more information, visit https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/mcgovern-dole-food-education-program.”
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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