Ministers of Education endorsed AU school feeding study

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African Ministers of Education endorsed the report and findings of the African Union Study on School Feeding. The results of the study were presented during the Second Ordinary session of Africa Minister’s Meeting on Education, Science and Technology, held on 21-23 October, in Cairo, Egypt. The study will be presented to Heads of State and Government during the January 2018 summit.

The study findings and recommendations were initially validated in May 2017 by member states and WFP School feeding practitioners. The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, in collaboration with WFP Africa Office, carried out this study, after the African Union Commission Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology undertook a mission to explore the Brazilian experience on home-grown school feeding, as a means for promoting children’s access, retention and quality of education.

This model of school feeding was seen to have multiple benefits for community development, social protection and employment creation, playing an important role in achieving SDG2, Zero Hunger. As a result of this study visit to Brazil, the AU Summit of January 2016 took a decision to undertake this school feeding study and established the Africa Day of School Feeding. The day is observed 1st of March every year and was already celebrated at the continental level in Niger and Congo. The next continental school feeding celebration will take place in Zimbabwe.

Wanja Kaaria, Deputy Director ADD, was responsible for the presentation of the study results to member states’ ministers. The study will be presented to Heads of State and Government during the January 2018 summit, with a view to reporting on the implementation of the Decision of 2016. The study recommendations will form the basis for sharing experiences and monitoring the progress of scale up by member states, effects of school feeding on education access, retention and quality.

WFP and its Centre of Excellence against Hunger, under the leadership of the African Union, will be responsible for monitoring the progress of implementation, under the auspices of the School Feeding Cluster coordinators, as endorsed in the Continental Education Strategy for Africa.

The Ministers endorsed the report and the recommendations of the School Feeding Study and called for the allocation of budget for inter-ministerial Home-Grown School Feeding management units, as a means to strengthen the implementation of the findings of the study and the Decision of 2016. They also encouraged Member States to develop implementation plans based on the findings of the study, including strengthening local resourcing of school feeding and identification of cost-effective and more innovative local financing.

The core set of recommendations of the African Union study:

1. Link school feeding programmes to international, continental and national development agendas.

2. Design and implement school feeding programmes to achieve cross-sectoral policy objectives.

3. Invest in and empower multi-sectoral response and coordination mechanisms.

4. Commit to developmental procurement strategies that exert a strong focus on increasing local production capacities.

5. Innovate financial arrangements by diversifying sources of financing for school feeding programmes and/or putting into place co-financing mechanisms.

6. Devote resources to stronger M&E systems and automate feedback processes to improve policy outcomes.

7. Deepen and learn from South-South and pan-African cooperation to optimise policy impacts.