Speech by WFP's Country Director in Zambia, Simon Cammelbeeck on how ''Home-Grown School Feeding Can Cultivate A Brighter Future For Zambian Children''
10 September, 2015 - Official Opening of the Biogas Fuelled School Kitchen at Kamphambe Primary School, Katete District, Eastern Province, Zambia.
Honourable Minister Dr. Kaingu, ladies, gentlemen, children.
This is my second visit to Kamphambe primary school in three months.
I wish to express my thanks to the Headmaster, teachers, students and the Parent Teacher Association for their warm welcome on both occasions.
On my last visit in June I was accompanied by a group of international experts and academics specialising in a variety of subjects including climate change, nutrition, agri-business and renewable energy solutions.
Why did they come all the way to Kamphambe? Because what you are doing here is truly impressive: it is sustainable development in action.
You are a shining example of how the 'Home-Grown School Feeding’ programme, as well as feeding school children with nutritious foods produced by local smallholder farmers, can also have environmental and nutrition benefits. And how, all at the same time, we can protect the environment, improve children’s school attendance, their concentration in class, increase the incomes of smallholder farmers, promote better nutrition, and mobilise communities to take ownership of their own development.
Funding from Cargill and the professionalism and management expertise of SNV, have also been very important and deserves to be recognized and commended. However the most important ingredient to this project’s success and its long-term impact, is you, committed teachers and parents, forming an active community.
You are an example of where community spirit leads to families working together to do what no single family can achieve alone, where parents’ interest in their children’s education leads to action, and hardwork to improve their school and their environment.
At the end of this month, Governments from around the world will gather at the United Nations in New York to discuss ‘Sustainable Development Goals’: the challenge is to find ways people around the world can lead more prosperous lives while respecting the environment. You provide an example of how it can be done, and in the process you have made your school a centre of excellence within the community.
However we can’t forget that Kamphambe is just one school among more than 8,000 across the country, and the challenge is to replicate your successes elsewhere in Zambia. With support from the Ministry of Education, through the Home-Grown School Feeding programme, we are now reaching almost 1,000,000 children in more than 2,000 school across the country. I would like to say thank you to the Ministry’s support over the last two years, and especially its contribution of 32 million kwacha to the programme’s operational costs in 2015, in addition to the maize it has provided. And I’m delighted by the Government’s objective to increase this number to 2,000,000 children in the next five years. Minister, rest assured that during this time WFP will continue to provide support based on our expertise developing and implementing school feeding programmes that reach more than 18 million children around the world every year.
We will continue to support you in tightening the loop between smallholder farmers and their children to enhance the benefits of this programme and to make the programme more cost-effective so that it can reach more children and smallholders.
And as well as seeing the short-term benefits of children doing well at school, I look forward to seeing the long-term benefits for children, smallholders and society at large. We estimate that for every $1 spent on school feeding, a long-term economic return of more than $3 thanks to better nutrition, improved educational attainment and the consequent improvements in people’s health and productivity in adulthood.
Based on the model you have created here, I have no doubt I will return to Kamphambe again in the future to show others the full potential of home-grown school feeding. WFP looks forward to continuing its collaboration with the Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Community Development, but most importantly, with communities like you, because this programme can only be successful if communities take ownership like you have done. Between now and then I wish you the best luck in your work.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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