Luxembourg contributes € 1 million to school feeding in Nicaragua
MANAGUA –The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has contributed €1 million (US$1.3 million) to the World Food Programme (WFP), which will support the purchase of additional food to complement existing school meals in 2,000 public schools in Nicaragua.
Anne-Laurie Theis, Head of the Central American region at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Joe Geisbusch, the Embassy’s Development Cooperation attaché in Nicaragua visited a rural school in the Suní Jinotegana community, where boys and girls receive hot school meals.
Waving the flag of Luxembourg alongside the Nicaraguan flag, the students at María Nieves Herrera, of San Rafael del Norte, Jinotega, welcomed the visitors with traditional dances, musical performances, poems and songs.
“We felt very welcome in this school - with the dance, the music, and our flag. We appreciate your warm welcome,” said Theis.
Challenges in implementing school meal programmes
Speaking about the benefits school meals have brought to the students, Josefa de la Cruz Briones, head of the school said, “This is a huge opportunity for the children”. “When I grew up, we did not have the advantage of eating at school. My poor mother did her best to feed the whole family, without any support.”
However, lack of awareness amongst parents about the benefits of the programme is a big challenge. Lack of infrastructure is another challenge as the school neither has a warehouse nor its own kitchen. For these reasons, the food is stored in a classroom and every afternoon the mothers take it home to cook. The next morning, the food is brought back to the school.
School meals that bring the community together
“Children feel happy and proud when their parents get involved in the school meals programme,” says Briones. “They feel very proud when it is their mother’s turn to cook.”
Suní school, which is attended by 61 children at preschool and elementary school level, assigns a specific role every day to two or three mothers per classroom for the preparation of the meal.
The fathers of the community – who are mainly subsistence farmers affected by recurrent droughts – are also involved in the programme. Leonidas Herrera is on the School Feeding Committee of the school. He is responsible for his nephew Franklin, 10, whose mother immigrated to Spain five years ago in search of work. “My nephew comes to school where he studies and eats a warm meal. I support the school with the transportation of food, water and anything else that is needed,” explains Herrera.
For WFP, the contribution made by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg represents an opportunity to guarantee that the most vulnerable children have access to a hot plate of food, five days a week.
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