Tag Archives: Burkina Faso

Ancient grain fights hunger in climate change

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Burkina Faso: malnourished children may lose life-saving Plumpy’Sup

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said this week that its nutrition programs in Burkina Faso may cease because of low funding. This means hungry children will not receive Plumpy’Sup, a food that fights potentially deadly malnutrition.

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School Meals for Peace in Mali and Burkina Faso

School feeding in Mali provided by Catholic Relief Services (CRS photo)

School feeding in Mali provided by Catholic Relief Services (CRS photo)

As Congress gets back to work on the Farm Bill, it’s vital they support the Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole programs. Both initiatives fund school meals around the world in partnership with charities like Catholic Relief Services.

From World War II to conflict and drought recovery today in West Africa, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been providing aid.

In Austria, after World War II, CRS teamed with the U.S. Army and UNICEF to give school meals to children. More recently CRS has been organizing school feeding in Mali and Burkina Faso, two nations suffering from extreme poverty in West Africa.

Mali has been struck by conflict in the North and a nationwide drought. Food production is reduced across the country. The UN World Food Programme says, “69 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, and according to 2010 National Statistics, more than one-fifth of school-aged children do not attend school.”

A report from the Famine Early Warning System shows that “north of Kayes and in some parts of the Mopti, Koulikoro, Ségou, and Timbuktu regions, rain shortages have affected crop development, which will likely reduce yields at these locations.” Hunger is a growing problem in Mali and aid is desperately needed.

CRS provides school meals in the Mopti and Koulikoro regions to help families cope with the crushing strain of poverty. The meals are funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s McGovern-Dole program, named after former U.S. senators George McGovern and Bob Dole.

CRS is reaching around 80,000 children in Mali with this food. Children can count on a hot meal of rice, peas and vegetable oil every day at school. When your family is struggling for food, this is an absolute treasure.

Kristina Brayman of CRS Mali says,

Without that food, many students would not eat a square meal at all. It motivates parents to send their children to school, especially girls, and means the children are able to grow, develop, and maximize their learning potential. It really is essential.

In Mali, CRS also has an initiative where local farmers provide the school meals. This is key because the goal is for each country to be able to run its own school feeding. CRS helps form School Management Committees. Fairs are established where farmers can bring their crops, which are inspected to ensure quality. The School Management Committees then purchase foods from the farmers to use for the meals.

CRS says,

Students and parents were very pleased with the taste and content of the local school meals, and the School Management Committees’ capacity and sense of ownership increased significantly.

In Burkina Faso CRS is also providing school meals using McGovern-Dole funding. Anne Sellers of CRS says McGovern-Dole is “a huge help,” as Burkina Faso tries to develop a national school feeding program. They need help along this road.

McGovern-Dole and CRS are feeding 145,000 children in 688 schools and 28 preschools. Take-home rations and de-worming are also provided. Burkina Faso has suffered from drought and also the strain of hosting refugees from the war in Mali. The country has high poverty and very low literacy rates. Support for education is extremely vital.

The U.S. Food for Peace program is also funding CRS to feed another 40,000 children in primary school. There are also 700 children in preschool who receive meals. Take-home rations are given to 4500 girls with rates of attendance. The food is a powerful incentive for attending school. The Food for Peace plan is to help Burkina Faso as it develops more capacity to take over the school feeding.

Local production of food is also part of the Burkina Faso plan. CRS and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture combined on a local purchase project that fed 58,000 children. Cornell University helped with monitoring and evaluation.

The future of these school feeding projects will rely on funding that will be determined, in large extent, in the next Farm Bill. It’s important citizens let their representatives in Congress know about funding the Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole programs.

Originally published at The Huffington Post

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School Meals Vital to Recovery in Burkina Faso

During the Sahel drought of 2012 children at the Tin-Ediar school in Burkina Faso line up for meals provided by the World Food Programme. The children are provided breakfast and lunch at school. (WFP/Anne Poulsen)

During the Sahel drought of 2012 children at the Tin-Ediar school in Burkina Faso line up for meals provided by the World Food Programme. The children are provided breakfast and lunch at school. (WFP/Anne Poulsen)

Many of us have seen drought at one time or another. Last summer a severe one scorched across much of the United States. The impact is hard, but imagine if you are a poor family in a developing country, dependent on crops for income and food. When drought strikes it destroys your food supply and you have almost nothing to fall back on.

This is what happened in the Sahel region of Africa last year when massive drought struck. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Burkina Faso says this caused many families to move to mining zones to find work. Their children would have to work too, meaning they would have to drop out of school.

WFP, though, had a school feeding plan to help families deal with the shock of drought and to keep the children in class. Last year in Burkina Faso, one of the Sahel countries, WFP fed 91,783 children breakfast and lunch at school and some girls received take-home rations. When food becomes scarce and high-priced as it did in the Sahel last year, food at school becomes a life-changer.

Burkina Faso had another emergency besides drought. The war in Mali created a number of refugees, some of whom fled to Burkina Faso. Ariane Waldvogel, the WFP deputy country director for Burkina Faso, says, “Malian refugee children were absorbed into local schools and received school meals…This assistance was key in not only improving the food security of the refugee children but also played a role in keeping relations between refugee and Burkinabé host communities peaceful.”

As 2013 unfolds school meals are still vital in Burkina Faso and throughout the region. School attendance in Burkina Faso’s Sahel region as a whole is low. WFP wants to expand its program to reach 100,000 children this year as it continues to help Burkina Faso recover. In time this program can help build a national school meals program, such as we have here in the United States.

WFP depends on voluntary donations, though. They need about U.S. $4.1 million to provide the meals this year. Some funding has been received from Switzerland and the United States.

Waldvogel says, “The additional US $1.7 million are urgently required to enable WFP to purchase and deliver food in time to ensure that school children resume school in October and continue to receive their two meals a day. Multi-year funding would be ideal for this programme, providing a steady funding stream, which would allow WFP to provide constant school feeding assistance throughout the academic year.”

The U.S. McGovern-Dole program, which funds school meals in developing countries, would be a great resource for Burkina Faso. It’s important that the U.S. Congress not reduce funding for this program as stipulated by the Sequester. School meals play a critical role bring stability throughout the world in areas impacted by drought and conflict. There is no better example of this than in the Sahel region of Africa.

Article first published as School Meals Vital to Recovery in Burkina Faso on Blogcritics.

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Sahel Food Crisis: An Interview with Célestine Ouédraogo of WFP in Burkina Faso

School feeding opens new opportunities for children in developing countries. (WFP/Anne Poulsen)

With the food crisis escalating in the Sahel region of Africa, it’s urgent that children be protected from hunger and kept in school.

In Burkina Faso, one of the affected Sahel countries, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) provides school feeding for impoverished children. These meals take on even more importance during the current hunger emergency.

When drought strikes, families are more likely to remove their kids from school and keep them home to work. However, If there is food available at the school then parents are more likely to keep their children enrolled.

In this interview Célestine Ouédraogo of WFP updates us on the status of school feeding in Burkina Faso as the Sahel food crisis unfolds.

How many children are receiving WFP school meals in Burkina Faso?

Each year 90,019 children enrolled in 691 schools in the Sahel Region benefit daily from a flour-based fortified breakfast and couscous-based lunch. In addition to the meals served in schools, 9,510 girls enrolled in the last two grades are receiving a take-home ration of 10 kg of cereals per month, which encourages parents to keep the girls in school and enable them to complete the primary school cycle.

Are these schools in the areas affected by the drought?

Yes, all these schools are in the areas affected by the drought.

The Sahel region is one of the most food-insecure regions, and has among the highest rates of malnutrition.

Does WFP intend to expand school feeding in Burkina Faso?


Does WFP have enough resources to provide school meals for at
least the rest of the year?

YES, thanks to the generosity of 2/3 donors, we have been able to secure funding up to end of 2012, which is essential if we want to ensure that children can pursue their education despite the food insecurity that the country is facing this year.

For more information please visit the World Food Programme.

Article first published as Sahel Food Crisis: An Interview with Calestine Ouedraogo of WFP in Burkina Faso on Blogcritics.

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