This year was packed with challenges and many surprises for the WFP Centre of Excellence Against Hunger Brazil. While we had to adapt to continue our work, we also continued to support countries and populations facing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, all of us who are part of the WFP had the honour to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, which recognizes both the tireless work of our staff taking food to over 100 million people every day and the cooperation efforts to build sustainable solutions to fight hunger.
Despite all the difficulties, we can say 2020 was a year of many achievements. We produced publications on measures adopted by Brazil and other countries to adapt school feeding programmes during the pandemic. We also strengthened our partnerships with the private sector to scale up campaigns to distribute food and cleaning products to the most affected families.
Regarding technical assistance on home-grown school feeding, the Centre of Excellence team continued to support countries remotely using the Virtual Exchanges methodology, which includes a virtual library, courses, videos, and remote technical assistance. Indonesia was one of the countries that received this assistance in 2020. The last onsite technical assistance trip that took place before COVID-19 restrictions was to The Gambia to assist the country in the next phase of their national home-grown school feeding programme.
Additionally, we published a document that describes our work in preparing projects to mobilize resources, which is one of our areas of expertise. The document presents the case developed with The Gambia, which, with our support, was able to raise US$ 16 million to scale up assistance for food, nutrition and agricultural security. Another successful case also resulted in the first publication of our Country Cases series. Togo’s Country Case presents the process that peaked with the approval of their School Feeding Law last July.
Another important landmark was launching the Nurture the Future project, whose official name is South-South Cooperation Project to tackle the Multiple Burden of Malnutrition in School-aged Children. The project is a partnership between the WFP Centre of Excellence Brazil, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC/MRE) and the Ministry of Health through the Coordination of Food and Nutrition from the Health Promotion Department (CGAN/MS). In December, the first seminar took place with the participation of all cooperating countries: Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
The Beyond Cotton project also reached important landmarks in 2020, such as the signing of the Mozambique country-project, participating in international events and technical meetings with strategic partners, and publishing an article on Textile Exchange. Other partnerships were also established or strengthened throughout the year: we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal District government to promote good practices in food and nutrition security and smallholder farming within the District’s public network.
2020 also marked five years of joint work with the African Union (AU). This partnership is part of a wider WFP and AU agenda that includes education, rural development, and childhood health and nutrition. In 2015, representatives from the AU and ministers from African countries visited the WFP Centre of Excellence in Brazil to learn about the country’s school feeding experience.
We also concluded the Employee of the Month series and participated in dozens of social media live events, webinars, interviews, conferences and other online events on food and nutrition security, fighting hunger and effects of the pandemic. One of them was the World Food Day, which had civil society and private sector representatives discussing innovative solutions for the food sector.
The Centre of Excellence also assisted the Brazilian government in sending humanitarian donations to several countries in the context of COVID-19. El Salvador, Lebanon and Bangladesh are examples of this partnership. More details on WFP Centre of Excellence actions and results can be found on the Annual Report, which will be published on the first quarter of 2021.