The UK government has contributed about US$9.70 per child to provide school meals for about 800,000 school going children in 13 food insecure districts of the central and southern region.
The funds channeled through UKaid to country of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will support 770,000 children in 683 primary schools, 5,000 children in community based child care centers and 24,000 girl and orphan boys, according to a joint statement by UKaid, Malawi government and WFP.
“We are aware that this is a difficult time for Malawi and Malawians, with food insecurity in parts of the country and rising prices of maize and other essential commodities,” Dfid Head Sarah Sanyahumbi said.
Under WFP’s school meals programme, children receive a daily mid-morning meal of fortified Super Cereal known here as Likuni Phala which gives them vital sustenance so they can concentrate on their lessons.
“School Meals contribute to increasing the percentage of girls and boys accessing and completing pre-primary and primary education. During times of food shortage, school meals are a crucial safety net to protect children from hunger and ensure that the education process is not disrupted,” WFP Country director Baton Osmani said.
While Malawi Principal Secretary for Education Dr. MacPhil Magwira said the school meals programme will retain more pupils in schools hence “get an education that will help them move out of poverty”
“Providing a daily ration of Likuni Phala (locally-made corn soya blend) for children at school means they get the food they need to concentrate on their lessons,” said Magwira. “It also means that they are more likely to stay in school and get an education, which will help them move out of poverty.”
Almost 2 million Malawians risk starvation and would need food according to the recent Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Report.