PRAIA – A week after schools reopened in Cabo Verde, the Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration, and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), today, signed an agreement to meet the food and nutrition needs of nearly 90,000 school children through the national school feeding programme.
“The agreement now signed reflects what has been the Government’s effort in mobilizing resources to support measures to mitigate impacts in the face of the most diverse global crises that we are currently witnessing, with enormous repercussions on the country’s development” said Dr. Miryan Vieira, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
“The implementation parameters and actions within the scope of this agreement will contribute to the reinforcement of the measures undertaken by the Government, with a view to increasing food and nutrition security in Cabo Verde, in particular for the reinforcement of the National Programme for School Canteens” Vieira added.
Under a Limited Emergency Operation, WFP will purchase and transport food for school meals, using existing procurement platforms to cost-effectively source the food, while ensuring that national food quality standards are met. WFP will also provide advisory services to the government on programme monitoring, advocacy and evidence generation in food security and nutrition, while working to boost resource mobilization and partnerships with the government, International Financial Institutions, the private sector and other development actors.
“The Government has always appreciated the work developed and provided by WFP until 2010. We believe with its experience, the food assistance that is required today and, in this case, directed to school canteens, we will be able to achieve the objectives and results desired in the scope of this programme” declared Dr Gilberto Silva, Minister of Agriculture and Environment.
“School meals are important because they target a vulnerable group, which are children in the learning process and that, by giving them better meals, reinforcing school canteens, we would be reaching a little over 20% of our population. It is a very concrete step, the results are visible, the products have started to arrive, to be used and we wanted to rejoice with the decisions taken. The Government will do everything to manage this aid very well”, Silva added.
In Cabo Verde, the National School Feeding Programme kicked off in 1979 with WFP’s support to increase school enrolment, boost learning, combat hunger and meet the nutritional needs of students. In 2010, the programme became fully owned and run by the government, becoming the first nationally owned school feeding programme in West Africa. Today, the programme covers 788 schools and supports 89,715 pre-school, primary and secondary students. It has helped drive up enrolment rates in primary schools while providing social protection for the most vulnerable families.
“The Cabo Verdean National School Feeding Programme is a definite success story, and it needs to be sustained. For this is to happen, support from international partners is needed during this difficult time to ensure that, notwithstanding the serious challenges that the country’s economy is going through, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and further aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, this important national safety net and investment in children is maintained” said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa.
“WFP is committed to working with Governments, development partners and the private sector to replicate the Cabo Verdean example in other countries across the region and ensure sustainable national school feeding programmes are in place for children to learn, thrive and to reach their full potential” Nikoi added.
Cabo Verde’s economy has been badly impacted by the compounding effects of climate extremes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the disruption to food supply chains due to unfolding conflict in Ukraine which has driven up the prices of food, fuel and fertilizer.
Source: World Food Programme