30th July 2021
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School Feeding

Good nutrition is very important for a child’s cognitive performance and overall development even well into adulthood. Historically, school feeding programmes have been used to increase school enrollment and retention. Children from poor homes are encouraged to attend school where they are guaranteed at least a hot meal. The hearty and well balanced meals provided to pupils helps to combat malnutrition that affects extremely poor families. In the Republic of Benin, this strategy seems to be working as intended.

Started in 2014, there are more than 396 primary schools where there is at least one school feeding programme. Every day, they feed more than 89,105 pupils in 25 communes in the country according to the World Bank.  The World Bank says since establishing the feeding programme, there has been very little infant mortality associated with malnutrition in schools where the canteens have been established. The programme also saw positive outcomes in over 88% of boys and 90% of girls benefiting from the project.

Source: Gnona Afangbeji, World Bank

Apart from combating the challenges of malnutrition, the feeding programme has had other benefits to the society. Provision of food is contracted to local service providers stimulating the economy in the process. The food consumed is also taken from local farms helping farmers with their livelihood.

The success of the feeding programme encouraged the Government of Benin to continue to financing the school canteens with $5.9 million (CFAF 3.4 billion) allocated to providing hot meals to pupils in 3,179 schools during the 2018/19 school year. 

The feeding programme was cofinanced by the Government and several of its international partners, including the Global Partnership for Education through its World Bank-administered Common Fund Budget (FCB).

Feature Image: Gnona Afangbeji, World Bank

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