“More than 50,000 students across Southern Africa are receiving much-needed school meals to encourage increased school enrollment and attendance, thanks to a partnership project known as the El Nino Relief and Recovery School Feeding Initiative.
The school feeding initiative focuses on primary aged school children, often one of the most vulnerable populations during protracted drought when food resources are scarce.
Amidst the region’s worst drought in 35 years, heavily impacting millions of people, especially children,the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) — the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church — moved to help. It joined forces with Rise Against Hunger (RAH) and Islamic Relief USA, US-based non-government agencies, to help tackle the hunger crisis in 185 schools across Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland.
“The school-feeding project was offered in those five countries because they were identified as some of the most affected by the drought,” said Janelle Walikonis, ADRA’s emergency response program manager. “Working in collaboration with RAH and Islamic Relief USA, ADRA helped recognize and distribute to schools where the food would most benefit.”
The collaborative effort aims to increase school-aged children’s resilience and access to education and to involve school staff, the local community and the private sector in efforts to promote sustainability. In pursuit of sustainability, the initiative follows something similar to the UN World Food Program’s home-grown school feeding approach. It implies linking diverse and nutritious food sourced locally from smallholder farmers, farmers owning small-based plots of land to grow crops, to children in schools. ”
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