Daniel Balaban, WFP Brazil Director, at the 2018 African Day of School Feeding, Zimbabwe
In 2020, the African Union (AU) will celebrate the 5th African Day of School Feeding. Celebrated every March 1st, the date was established in January 2016 by AU heads of state, in recognition of the immense value of school meals linked to local agriculture. Since 2016, representatives of governments, civil society, UN agencies and experts in the field come together to discuss new strategies and work plans for the implementation of school feeding on the continent, through study visits, lectures, workshops and roundtables.
African nations continue to prioritize school feeding through policies and laws to improve school retention, attendance and performance, as well as create economic growth. Currently, 39 countries on the continent have school feeding programs managed and financed by governments. 21 of these programs are linked to local agriculture. The programs in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Zimbabwe each feed more than 1 million children. In South Africa and Nigeria, that number reaches 9 million.
2019 African Day of School Feeding, Ivory Coast
The celebration of African School Feeding encourages AU member states to treat school feeding as a priority. Still in 2016, during the first celebration of school meals, Senegal proposed the creation of a network for the Multidisciplinary Committee of African Experts in partnership with the African Union and WFP Brazil.
In fact, in 2016, the Pan-African School Food Network (REPANS) was established and an online knowledge platform was developed and launched. Until 2018, WFP Brazil – Centre of Excellence against Hunger worked in partnership with the African Union and WFP offices in Africa with the aim of supporting continental efforts to adopt school feeding as a tool to promote sustainable development. WFP Brazil sponsored the first actions of the network and handed it over to the AU Commission in 2018.
2018 African Day of School Feeding, Zimbabwe
The African Day of School Feeding idea came after a study visit by an African Union delegation to Brazil to take a closer look at the Brazilian approach to school feeding and discuss WFP Brazil’s terms of collaboration with the African Union.
Since then, REPANS officers and members have continued to meet on African Day of School Feeding, at annual AU and WFP workshops on Locally Produced School Feeding, Global Child Nutrition Forums and WFP Regional School Feeding Workshops.
Check out the history of the partnership between WFP Brazil and the African Union here