UN: Spending more on school meals in West Africa a ‘win-win’ situation

8 Mar 18

Investing more in school meals in West Africa is a “win-win opportunity” for governments to create more local jobs in agriculture and improve the future of children, the United Nations has said.

The UN food relief agency has called on governments to spend more money on school meals programmes, which has the potential to create more jobs and help local businesses develop.

Abdou Dieng, UN World Food Programme (WFP) regional director for west and central Africa, said: “It’s a win-win opportunity which governments must seize.

“Children enjoy healthy meals that make it more likely that they will stay in school and learn for a better future, while jobs are created and businesses develop.”

WFP’s regional school meals programme, which aims to assist about 2.7 million children this year, is facing a $60m funding gap, leaving many students hungry and at risk of dropping out of school.

Some governments in West Africa have shown increased interest in spending more on national school meal programmes.

The government of Benin has allocated $47m to feed 400,000 children over the next five years in partnership with the UN agency.

Home-grown school meals give farmers and businesses a predictable outlet for their products, leading to sustainable incomes, more investment, higher productivity and the creation of jobs, the UN said.

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