The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of US$1.5mn from the government of Norway to support the provision of locally-produced school meals for 50,000 primary school learners in Malawi
This forms part of a larger contribution of around US$5.5mn to locally produced school meals programmes in three countries – Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.
Through the home-grown school feeding model, food commodities for school meals will be supplied by 1,000 smallholder farmers, particularly women, who will also benefit from capacity development in production, post-harvest handling and marketing.
The contribution will sustain and improve access to education by providing nutritious and diversified school meals. Other expected gains from this grant include improved enrolment, attendance and retention in school.
“We commend the Government of Norway for its strong commitment to the home-grown school feeding model that will not only provide learners with a daily meal, but also strengthen the local economy and the broader food value chain,” said Paul Turnbull, WFP country director and representative in Malawi.
Under the model, WFP partners with schools through district councils to purchase food locally. Participating schools sign contracts with farmers to get local and diversiﬁed foods. This new contribution will strengthen the gains made with Norway’s humanitarian support to Malawi since 2014 and will contribute to the development of a sustainable model for a national school meals programme.
“A daily nutritious school meal is a strong incentive to enrol and keep children in school,” said Ørnulf Strøm, chargé d’affaires at the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe. “The funds will complement the Norwegian support to home grown school meals under the Joint Programme for Girl’s Education.”
The interventions will also promote household and community level resilience, as well as contribute to improved nutrition, education and economic development of communities. They will also contribute to women’s empowerment and gender equality by promoting access to education for girls and ensuring that women farmers participate in economic activities.
On-site in-school feeding was resumed in October this year after suspension as part of the Government of Malawi’s COVID-19 containment measures. Throughout the suspension of in-school feeding, WFP continued to provide school meals as take-home rations. WFP’s school feeding intervention in Malawi reaches about 600,000 children in seven districts.