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On the15-18th May Ethiopia hosted the largest forum of leading international school feeding experts which has ever been brought together. The 14th Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum, hosted by the Government of Ethiopia, saw over 200 regional, national and international experts from 23 sub- Saharan African countries share ideas and discuss strategies to implement sustainable school feeding programmes which can aid the economic, educational and agricultural development of sub-Saharan Africa.
The key theme of the Forumwas on how national school feeding programmes can both stimulate economic development and improve the health and well being of future citizens.
The global commitment to achieve the United Nations’ eight anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015 has emphasized the importance of school feeding programmes as a social safety net so that hunger may be eradicated and universal primary education achieved.
At present over sixty million children go to school hungry every day in developing countries. Children that don’t eat don’t learn.
In the same communities, smallholder farmers, often unable to reach a market, struggle to make a living selling their food. The solution is clear: local food for local children.
More specifically, when linked to local agricultural production, school feeding programmes can benefit local farmers and producers by generating a stable, structured, and predictable demand for their products, thereby building the market and the enabling systems around it. This is an approach known as Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF).
The Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) are co-hosting the event with technical support provided by the World Food Programme (WFP).
Leaderswere united for five days of intensive training, technical assistance and planning to help countries establish sustainable school feeding programmes. By sharing their insights, experiences, and challenges, an informal worldwide alliance of leaders dedicated to advancing school feeding has evolved. As a result, the Forum has become a global catalyst for school feeding development.
Dr Lesley Drake, Executive Director, Partnership for Child Development speaking at the forumsaid,
"Every year at the Forum I am astounded by the commitment and dedication of the school feeding community. Meetings like this provide an opportunity to witness how the school feeding community is evolving and how the individuals here, as well as their colleagues at home are truly global catalysts for school feeding development.
What has really cometo the forefront this year is the agricultural dimension of school feeding when programmes purchase locally. The result is that the children who are receiving food are benefiting and the farmers providing the food are benefiting, it is a win-win."
The opening ceremony featured key note addresses from Dr Tedros Adhanom the Ethiopian Ministers of Health, and Mr Tefera Derbew Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and World Food Prize Laureate and former Ghanaian President His Excellency John Kufuor.
Other contributors included Ministers of State from: Malawi, Ghana, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda and representatives of: NEPAD, CAADP, AGRA, The World Bank, Purchase for Progress (WFP), WFP, Centre of Excellence Against Hunger, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, PATH, and many other active organisations working across the globe on school feeding, health and agriculture.
Read the ForumCommuniquÃ©
Find Presentations from the forum for: Day 1, Day2 and Day 4. (With Day 3 being the field trip).
Read the various press articles on the pilot project and GCNF:
Merkato,Ethiopia Launches School Feeding Program
The Reporter,Gov't Looks to School Feeding to Support Agricultural Dev't
All Africa,Ethiopia: Farmers to Supplant Imported Food for School Lunches