"WFP needs MK904 million (US$6 million) for the next six months to feed the pupils,” said Abdoulaye Diop, WFP Malawi Country Director.
Due to inadequate funding, WFP had to temporarily suspend school meals for a half a million children in Malawi
Lilongwe, Malawi (12 October 2010) - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it had temporarily suspended school meals for half a million children because of inadequate funding.
“WFP is sadly having to temporarily suspend school meals in 10 out of 13 districts. We will scale them up when we receive more funding. WFP needs MK904 million (US$6 million) for the next six months to feed the pupils,” said Abdoulaye Diop, WFP Malawi Country Director.
He said that WFP appreciated contributions from Malawi, the United States, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and UN Common Funds to the school meals programme since it started in January 2008 but more funding was needed for it to run as scheduled to December 2011.
The programme supported by WFP targets 681 schools across 13 districts, reaching 700,000 primary schoolchildren. It is implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology with assistance from WFP and other partners providing technical and financial support.
Children receive a mid‐morning hot serving of corn-soya blend (Likuni Phala) porridge each school day. In addition, girls and orphan boys in standards five to eight take home a monthly ration of maize during the lean months of January to April as long as they attend 80 percent of school days.
School meals will continue to be provided in Chikhwawa, Nsanje and Zomba districts, which were prioritized as the most in need because an assessment in May found that many families in the three districts needed food assistance because of prolonged dry spells in two consecutive years.
A total of 180,000 pupils in 182 schools will continue to receive school meals. The districts where meals are suspended are: Kasungu, Lilongwe, Salima, Dedza, Ntcheu, Mangochi, Phalombe, Thyolo, Mulanje and Chiradzulu with a total number of 508,000 pupils in 480 schools.
School meals reduce drop out rates and promote regular attendance and increase enrolment. They also improve the ability of children to concentrate and learn for a better future.