The African Union has decided to adopt school feeding programmes linked to local production and local purchase of food as a continental strategy to increase the attendance, overcome malnutrition and therefore improve students’ performance, as also ensure income generation for the smallholders’ farmers.
The decision includes the establishment of a multidisciplinary technical committee of African experts to carry out, with the support of the Centre of Excellence against Hunger, a general study on the relevance and impact of school feeding in the Member States of the African Union. The African Day of School Feeding has been also established on March 1.
The 26th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly was concluded on January 31, in the head office in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Discussions on school meals were included in the agenda of the summit after African Education Ministers endorse the decision to adopt school meals, prepared with locally purchased food, as a strategy to improve education, strengthen local and family farming economies and move forward in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The statement of the African Union Summit encourages Member States which have already school feeding programmes to keep their efforts and invite others to learn and adapt the lessons of these ongoing programmes to increase access and retention of children in schools.
The endorsement took place during the First Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science and Technology, held in October 2015, when the Ministers of Education prepared a technical note recommending the adoption of school meals; document which was presented to the Heads of State of the African Union during the 2016 Summit.
The interest in adopting school feeding as a technology to accelerate growth and to promote social protection has been strengthened also after a study visit of African Union representatives to Brazil last year.
More information: UN Brazil.