The first Africa Day of School Feeding will be launched on March 1, 2016, in Niamey, Niger, under the theme “Home Grown School Feeding: A Conduit for Africa’s Sustainable Development”.

African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government instituted March 1 as the African Day of School Feeding at the 26th AU Summit here last month. The decision encourages AU member states which have school feeding programmes to continue their efforts and invites other member States to adapt success lessons learned.

The AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Martial De-Paul Ikounga, said in a statement issued by the AU headquarters here Thursday that although some countries in Africa had been implementing school-feeding programmes they did not meet the required impact as the programmes were heavily dependent on foreign donors.

He added that poor logistical arrangements and provision of dry food lacking in dietary diversity had contributed to the failure. The implementation of the programme can liberate Africa from waiting for assistance from partners abroad in making schools friendly to children by focusing on local produces, he said.

Ikounga added that the school feeding programme is introduced recognizing its immense value to enhance retention and performance of children in schools, and to boost income generation and entrepreneurship in local communities.

According to him, the new phenomenon behind the programme is enabling Africa to entertain an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach based on Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF).

The programme is aimed at ensuring quality universal school enrollment in Africa by putting school feeding at the centre of solutions to help vulnerable children from the poorest households and who live in difficult areas, it was indicated.

Ikounga called on partners and stakeholders to promote the campaign to foster school feeding not only in primary and secondary school but also at the tertiary level.

Source: ENA