WFP and the Government of Cabo Verde join forces to support schoolchildren in the context of the socio-economic crisis caused by COVID19 and the conflict
PRAIA – A week after the reopening of schools in Cabo Verde, the government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) today signed an agreement to respond the food and nutritional needs of nearly 90,000 school children under the national school feeding programme.
“The agreement now signed reflects the government’s efforts to mobilize resources to support impact mitigation measures in the face of the most diverse global crises we are currently witnessing, with enormous implications for the development of the country” , said Dr. Miryan Vieira, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
“The parameters and actions implemented within the framework of this agreement will contribute to strengthening the measures taken by the government, with a view to increasing food and nutritional security in Cabo Verde, in particular for the strengthening of the national program of school canteens. . added Vieira.
As part of a limited emergency operation, WFP will procure and transport food for school meals, using existing supply platforms to source supplies at lower cost, while ensuring that national standards of food quality is respected. WFP will also provide advisory services to the government on program monitoring, advocacy and generation of evidence on food security and nutrition, while working to stimulate resource mobilization and partnerships with government, international financial institutions, the private sector and other development actors.
“The government has always appreciated the work developed and provided by the WFP until 2010. We believe that with its experience, the food aid that is needed today and, in this case, directed to school canteens, we will be able to achieve the objectives and results. wished within the framework of this program” declared Dr Gilberto Silva, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment.
“School meals are important because they target a vulnerable group, namely children in learning and that by giving them better meals, by strengthening school canteens, we would reach a little more than 20% of our population. This is a very concrete step, the results are visible, the products have started to arrive, to be used and we wanted to be happy with the decisions made. The government will do everything to manage this aid well,” Silva added.
In Cabo Verde, the national school feeding program started in 1979 with the support of the WFP to increase school enrolment, stimulate learning, fight against hunger and meet the nutritional needs of pupils. In 2010, the program became fully government owned and managed, becoming the first national school feeding program in West Africa. Today, the program covers 788 schools and supports 89,715 preschool, primary and secondary students. It has helped to increase enrollment rates in primary schools while providing social protection to the most vulnerable families.
“Cape Verde’s national school feeding program is a real success, and it must be maintained. For this to happen, the support of international partners is needed at this difficult time to ensure that, despite the serious challenges the country’s economy is going through, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and further aggravated by the Russian crisis country, this important national safety net and investment in children is maintained,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP Regional Director for West Africa.
“WFP is committed to working with governments, development partners and the private sector to replicate Cape Verde’s example in other countries in the region and ensure that sustainable national school feeding programs are in place. place for children to learn, grow and reach their full potential” Nikoï added.
Cabo Verde’s economy has been hit hard by the cumulative effects of weather extremes, the COVID19 pandemic and the disruption of food supply chains due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine which has driven up food prices , fuel and fertilizers.