OUGADOUGOU – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has begun distributing locally-produced yoghurt as part of its school feeding programme in the capital of the Sahel region, one of the most food-insecure areas of Burkina Faso.
The initiative – new to WFP’s school feeding programmes across West Africa – will initially reach nearly 2,000 students in 12 primary schools. It supports the Government’s strategy to enable communities to gradually take full ownership of the school canteens.
“We are pleased to introduce locally-produced yoghurt into WFP’s school meals. Providing dairy products, which are among the preferred foods in this part of the country, will not only enrich children’s school meals but provide a market for vulnerable small-scale farmers and women’s groups to earn an extra income,” said Jean-Charles Dei, WFP Country Director in Burkina Faso.
The milk comes from small-scale cattle breeders and is transformed into yoghurt by a women’s association, Kossam Nai Bodedji Dori, which started a milk processing unit. The initiative is supported by WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme, which aims to build the capacity of small producers and farmers, and enable them to improve quality and sell their products on a larger scale.
The pilot phase covers initially 12 schools, but plans are underway to extend the project.
WFP has been providing school meals in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso since 2004, serving daily breakfast and lunch to students. Girls also receive a monthly ration to take home to their families as an added incentive to encourage enrolment and keep them in school.
The school feeding programme has had a positive impact on enrolment rates: since 2006, they have increased overall from 37 percent to nearly 50 percent in 2014, while for girls, enrollment has improved from 32 percent to 48 percent in the same period.
Abel Aziz Dao, a government representative who oversees the management of the school canteens in the Sahel region, says that WFP’s involvement is invaluable.
“WFP has played a crucial role in the educational system, enabling schools to grow, as without school canteens, there would be no schools in the Sahel. This project will help our children grow and develop healthily,” said Dao.
WFP’s initiative is also helping to fight malnutrition in a region where families struggle to provide two daily meals to their children, and malnutrition rates are one of the highest in the country.
“We count on the generosity of our donors so that we can extend this initiative to more schools in the Sahel region, one of the most vulnerable areas of the country,” said Dei.
In 2015, WFP plans to provide more than 127,000 children with one nutritious meal per day in 952 schools across Burkina Faso.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Célestine Ouédraogo, WFP Burkina Faso, Tel: +226 25 30 60 77, Mob. +226 75 14 47 47
Adel Sarkozi, WFP Dakar Mob. +221 77 637 5964