WFP boosts school feeding activities in Cote d'Ivoire

Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) -- The World Food Programme (WFP) which has collaborated with the government of Cote d'Ivoire in its school feeding activities since 1989, said a planned complete hand-over of the scheme to the government in 2003 has been revised due to the political crisis in the country.
WFP has school feeding programmes in 69 countries around the world and in 2003, it fed 152 millions pupils world-wide.
And the school feeding programme in Cote d'Ivoire has long been recognised as one of the strongest and most sustainable programmes, due to the high level of government and community support.
Throughout the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, WFP has continued to work in close collaboration with the 'Direction nationale des cantines (DNC)' for schools in the south to ensure continuity in school feeding.
In the north, WFP worked as a link between the NGO 'Ecole pour tous' and DNC in the south to preserve structure and capacity.
With the redeployment of ministry of Education officials to the North in February 2004, WFP is once again collaborating with the government nation-wide.
However, WFP continues to provide logistical support for food deliveries in the North.
One of the most serious consequences of the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire has been the interruption of public education for over a million students for more than a year.
Although WFP continued to support schools that were open during the crisis in the North, many of them closed in September 2002, and only reopened in February 2004.
school canteens play a key role in the normalisation of traumatised communities by contributing to a supportive environment for children and their families in conflict-affected areas.
The canteens also serve as an incentive to reopen more schools.
In addition, providing a school meal to children alleviates household expenses, especially in this context of unfavourable socio-economic conditions where families are faced with limited financial resources.
School canteens also serve as a catalyst for community cohesion through participation, particularly by women, parent-teacher associations (PTAs) and COGES (comité de gestion), which include active women's associations, involving women from all ethnic groups in the villages.
These associations, which existed in villages several years prior to the crisis, do manage and supply the school canteens with local foods items.
In its relief and recovery efforts, WFP has been building upon and supporting these groups as a paramount implementing partner in conflict mitigation throughout the country.
WFP has been working close collaboration with DNC to strengthen their capacity in commodity tracking, monitoring and evaluation.
Hence, the UN food agency has provided DNC with 12 computers to use for data collection and evaluation.
Training in food security and targeting techniques will be initiated in late 2004 and will continue in 2005, according to a jointly agreed plan between WFP and the DNC.

17 october 2004 11:58:00

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