When Canada and Nepal are used in the same sentence it’s usually because the former is supporting development efforts in the latter. Not when it comes to feeding children at school.
Eating healthy and nutritious food in schools in El Salvador is an effort that went from a pilot plan to a well-entrenched programme that has now taken off.
“I am going back to Panama with many ideas,” said Gilda Montenegro, a nutritionist with the Panamanian Education Ministry, after getting to know the school feeding system in the city of Vitoria, in central-eastern Brazil.
Barely 11 years old and in the sixth grade of primary school, this student dreams of becoming a farmer in order to produce food so that the children in his community never have to go hungry. Josué Orlando Torres of the indigenous Lenca people lives in a remote corner of the west of Honduras.
A successful school meals programme that serves breakfast and lunch with Andean flavours to 140,000 students in La Paz gave rise to a new law aimed at promoting healthy diets based on local traditions and products in Bolivia’s schools, while combating malnutrition and bolstering food sovereignty.
Providing school meals for 45 million children is a remarkable achievement for Brazil. But the programme faces specific difficulties, as well as the generic problems plaguing any national plan in this vast country of more than 192 million people.
Separating Maria Gomes Morais’ farm and a school in Rio de Janeiro are fields, hills and dirt roads that are impassable when it rains. But a school meal programme has forged a path linking the fresh produce harvested by small farmers like her with the need to provide nourishment to 45 million schoolchildren around Brazil.