The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger has contributed to changing the understanding of governments in 30 countries about the potential of school feeding: in addition to providing food to children in schools, school feeding programmes are an inter-sectoral food and nutrition security policy, with multi-dimensional impacts. This was the highlight of the impact evaluation carried out to assess the first five years of the Centre of Excellence.
On 4 September, the results of the impact evaluation were announced to the WFP Centre’s partners, in a joint event with the Brazilian Cooperation Agency. The impact evaluation covers the period from 2011 to 2016 and was carried out by a consortium of independent organizations, composed by the Centre for Studies and Articulation of South-South Cooperation and Move Social. The research focused on the impact of the Centre of Excellence’s work on 28 countries receiving continued technical assistance. The research team conducted interviews with 66 national and international stakeholders.
The results indicate that the Centre contributed significantly to the overall recognition of school feeding as a strategy to promote sustainable development. The Centre also promoted the involvement of high-level government actors, which increased countries’ commitment to school feeding, and the partnerships fostered by the Centre helped to strengthen technical skills crucial to the development of national school feeding policies linked to local agriculture.
Of those interviewed, 71% mentioned an increase in the purchase of food produced locally since the beginning of the partnership with the Centre, for use in school meals. 100% of respondents considered that exchanges and capacity building activities are relevant and responsive to their needs, and 69% recognized the Centre’s contribution to greater country autonomy in the design and implementation of school feeding policies and programmes.
At the impact evaluation launching event, the director of ABC, Ambassador João Almino, stated that South-South cooperation has been consolidated as an important aspect of Brazilian international relations and that food and nutrition security is one of the main thematic axes of the Brazilian cooperation.
Rogério Lot, chief of staff of the presidency of the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE) stressed that “in many countries, poverty is concentrated in rural areas, and in these contexts, linking school feeding with smallholder farming contributes to reducing poverty.”
Daniel Balaban, director of the WFP Centre of Excellence, said the Centre has already received missions from more than 40 countries that came to Brazil to learn about food and nutrition security policies. “The Centre of Excellence has catalyzed the establishment of school feeding networks in Africa and Asia.”
Melissa Pomeroy, researcher responsible for the impact evaluation, was at the event to present the results of the research. “The WFP Centre has come up in the assessment as inspiring for the partner countries, and this inspiration is due to the fact that the Centre has demonstrated what a school feeding initiative can be, it has changed the stakeholders’ understanding of the potential of school feeding.” She also stressed that the Centre’s contribution to the countries is anchored in the legitimacy of the results of Brazilian social policies and in the bridge the Centre builds between Brazil and other developing countries.
The Centre of Excellence against Hunger is the result from a partnership between the World Food Programme and Brazil. Through the Trilateral South-South cooperation of the Brazilian government, the Centre shares successful Brazilian experiences in fighting hunger between developing countries. In addition to supporting governments in the design, management and expansion of nutritious, sustainable and local-based school feeding programmes, the Centre, in partnership with FNDE in Brazil, offers technical assistance in social development, nutrition, income transfer and zero hunger to more than 50 countries.