WFP Marks World Food Day With Focus On Bold Partnerships That Spur Change
“Ending hunger in our lifetimes is possible. We can build a world where everyone, everywhere has access to nutritious food – if we all work together, as partners,” says WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “Whether in a humanitarian or developmental context, partnerships must be bold, strategic and innovative, and be measured by how they change the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Innovation plays a fundamental role in ensuring that partnerships catalyse and drive change, especially under a changing climate, and in southern African countries where communities are still reeling from the effects of the El Nino-induced drought, one of the worst in three decades.
“In Zimbabwe, meeting the needs of the 4.1 million people expected to be food insecure at the peak of the hunger season early next year cannot be done by one single organization or institution alone,” says Eddie Rowe, WFP Zimbabwe Representative and Country Director. “We must put the resilience of families at the core of our collective, creative and innovative efforts. It’s the only way that we can build true resilience and eliminate hunger at scale. Nothing less will allow us to deliver the bold Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are connected. Success in one SDG will have a ripple effect in achieving other SDGs. A case in point is WFP’s school meals programme.
WFP last year provided school snacks or meals to more than 17 million school children in 62 countries, nourishing their bodies and feeding their dreams. When school meals programmes are forged in partnership and integrated into comprehensive education packages, school meals can catalyse educational achievement and opportunities.
In countries like Zimbabwe which is facing a food security crisis, school meals programmes can help guard against malnutrition, encourage learning and create some sense of normality. They are a ready-made safety net to help hungry families at times of crisis.
In collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and as part of its Lean Season Assistance initiative, WFP launched its Emergency School Feeding Programme in July 2016 in Zvishavane and Mbire. The programme has since expanded to Binga. In July, the programme reached approximately 9,800 pupils in the two districts and increased to some 38,500 pupils in the three districts in September. The ultimate goal is to reach 77,000 primary school children in these three districts up until April 2017.
“The future begins with food, and we’re helping build it through schools,” says Rowe. “If we are able to end hunger, we will give future generations the possibility of pursuing their development dreams, and the energy to make them come true.”
The long-term vision is for WFP to provide technical support to the Government to re-establish the national school feeding programme. The current short-term emergency programme will provide a platform for WFP to provide capacity development and technical expertise to the Ministry of Education in the development and scaling-up of a national Home Grown School Feeding programme. WFP works closely with governments of developing countries on Home Grown School Meals programmes. These involve sourcing supplies locally from small holder farmers, so children get fresh and more varied foods, and farmers and traders can grow their business and benefit the community as a whole.
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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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