From 27 to 31 August, the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger will receive delegations from Senegal and Sierra Leon for a study visit. The delegations include high-level officials of the two countries, who are visiting Brazil to exchange knowledge and good practices in school feeding. The representatives of the visiting countries will have meetings with Brazilian officials in Brasília and will go on a field trip to Salvador, Bahia state, to see first-hand the links between school feeding and smallholder farming.
The visit was organized by the WFP Centre, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), and the Brazilian National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE), responsible for Brazil’s school feeding programme. The World Food Programme’s offices in Senegal and Sierra Leone are supporting the participation of the governmental delegations.
Brazil and the WFP Centre of Excellence have been collaborating with the government of Senegal since 2012, when the country undertook its first study visit to learn about the Brazilian school feeding programme. As a means to improve education and ensure food security, the government is engaged in promoting school feeding throughout the country, and in 2017 the school meals programme reached 25 percent of coverage (400,000 kids), thanks to combined efforts by the government, WFP and other partners.
The main challenges faced by the government to continue improving the programme are to strengthen the legal framework of the programme, resource mobilization, and local stakeholders participation. The government also hopes to formalize the multi-sectoral approach of the programme. The Ministry of Education is working with WFP to elaborate a new school feeding strategy, with support from the WFP Centre of Excellence.
During the visit to Brazil, the Senegalese delegation expects to renew the country’s partnership with the WFP Centre of Excellence and Brazil and to increase its knowledge on the Brazilian strategies to implement school feeding with special attention to civil society engagement and the synergies between school feeding and other social development programmes.
The government of Sierra Leone is committed to implementing a sustainable school feeding programme to ensure children in primary schools will have access to nutritious food. The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education is working in partnership with the World Food Programme, the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and UNICEF to build this programme, and requested the support from Brazil and the WFP Centre of Excellence.
With the visit to Brazil, they aim at enhancing political commitment of senior government officials in the country. They also expect to learn from the Brazilian school feeding approach and get an in-depth understanding of the linkages between school feeding and other sectors. The agenda will allow them to see how smallholder farming is integrated to the school feeding programme in Brazil and the impact of this policy for health, nutrition, education, and rural economies.
School feeding is already part of Sierra Leone’s vision for sustainable development and is included in the country’s Education Sector Plan. Brazilian successes, challenges and solutions will inform the development of Sierra Leone’s school feeding programme and will contribute to build the capacity of the country’s relevant ministries. The delegation will have the opportunity to discuss the process involved in designing a sustainable national school feeding programme and the key aspects of a political, legal, and financial framework.