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Haiti - USA : Donation of $33M to provide school meals
28/11/2023 11:10:20

Haiti - USA : Donation of $33M to provide school meals
A $33 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will enable the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the Department of Education to provide hot school meals to approximately 75,000 students pre-primary and primary education in the North and North-East departments of Haiti by 2028.

This new agreement of US$33 million, comes under the U.S. Department of Agriculture McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (McGovern-Dole) and will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

By providing school meals, WFP and USDA aim to increase school enrolment and student retention while improving literacy of school-age children and the quality of instruction in classrooms. A previous McGovern-Dole project provided school meals to approximately 100,000 students in Nord, Norde and Grand’Anse Department from September 2020 to July 2023.

Currently, WFP provides school meals to 460,000 students across the country with approximately half of those students receiving food that has been prepared using 100 percent Haitian-grown ingredients.

In line with the Government of Haiti’s strategy to use locally purchased commodities for school meals, the funds will be used for a combination of traditional and home-grown school meals. A total of 5,610 metric tons of U.S. donated commodities will be used to produce the meals, including vegetable oil, rice, beans, lentils and bulgur, in addition to 2,263 metric tons of Haitian-grown commodities, which will be locally purchased, including vegetables, flour and tubers.

“An incremental shift to local production is the way of the future and a top priority for WFP in Haiti. Over the past several years, WFP has nurtured a network of local producers and food processors in the south and central areas of the country. With this project, WFP will build the capacity of producers in the Nord and Nord-Est departments, which is a win-win scenario for both the smallholder farmers and students benefiting from the meals,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Country Director in Haiti.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, WFP will work with existing Organisations de Producteurs Agricoles (OPA) to ensure availability of facilities for the aggregation, packaging and marketing of fresh produce and dry commodities. WFP and partners will provide training to smallholder farmers, equipping them to provide sufficient high-quality products to supply the school meals programme, while enhancing business skills and conservation techniques.

Meanwhile, WFP and partners will collaborate closely with the Ministry of Education on activities aimed at enhancing the overall learning experience for students. It will also work with partners to build capacity at national and departmental levels on managing school meals programmes, including developing a financial strategy and guidance on collecting and handling data.

The project includes a strong element of engagement with local communities, through support to parent-teacher associations and the establishment of community savings and loans committees. It also aims to improve nutrition knowledge, gender awareness and hygiene practices through activities such as theatre productions, radio broadcasts, peer-to-peer education sessions, school gardens, and training on food preparation.

To create a healthy environment for the students, the project will provide hygiene training and distribute hygiene kits, while targeting the most vulnerable schools with the construction of handwashing stations and refurbishment of latrines.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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