TUNIS – Representatives of 50 countries attended a global forum for school feeding practicioners
to exchange views on how to improve and scale up their national programmes.
The 20th annual Global Child Nutrition Forum was attended by approximately 300 participants,
representing 50 governments, NGOs, businesses, UN agencies and institutions.
This year’s Forum is taking place from 21 – 25 October, hosted by the Tunisia Ministry for
Education, and will focus on the theme National School Meal Programmes for Food and Nutrition
Security and Multiple Social Benefits. Organised by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and
the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, the Forum is the largest annual international
conference on school feeding in the world; and this is the first time it has been hosted in the
Middle East and North Africa, a region which continuously demonstrates how school feeding
programmes can function as platforms for multiple benefits, both in fragile environments and
in more stable contexts.
“The Forum aims to highlight issues related to child nutrition around the world, foster
cooperation between nations and encourage countries to develop and improve school
nutrition programs that return multiple benefits and address multiple Sustainable
Development Goals,” remarked Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition
The Forum brings together leaders to share insights, experiences, and challenges; working
together to advance school feeding programmes. As a result, it has become a global catalyst
for school feeding development.
“Gathering high-level officials from 50 countries every year to discuss strategies to strengthen
school feeding translates into stronger governmental commitment to school feeding and into
positive impacts on education, health, and socio-economic indicators.” noted Daniel Balaban,
director of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger.
David Beasley, WFP’s Executive Director, gave the keynote speech repositioning WFP’s
leadership on the global stage. “School feeding programmes keep children in school, making it
possible for them to be healthier and ready to learn. And when children can learn, they grow
up to be healthier and more prosperous adults. Not only do they win, but their countries do
too. We are committed to reaching more children in need and we will work with our
government partners to do so,” he said.
Under its Country Strategic Plan 2017-2021, WFP Zimbabwe is working in partnership with the
Government of Zimbabwe to support the re-establishment of a national school feeding
programme that would link to local agricultural production. WFP has already embarked on a
water source development programme, drilling boreholes at 22 primary schools, ensuring
access to clean and safe water – pumped using renewable solar energy – which also supports
on-site nutritional gardens.
“School feeding in Zimbabwe is an essential piece of the social safety net,” said WFP
Representative and Country Director Eddie Rowe. “Well-nourished students are essential if we
are to prevent hunger and build resilience for a sustainable future.”
The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives
for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.