The project “Strengthening of School Feeding Programmes within the framework of the Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative” operates since 2009, helping to develop local public school feeding policies focused on the human right to food and the provision of adequate, healthy, systematic, universal and sustainable food.
Such programs are considered social protection tools and are recommended as one of the key components for actions on food and nutrition security, especially for reducing school dropouts, promote learning, preventing malnutrition and obesity and breaking the cycle of hunger. The project is implemented in fourteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoting intra-governmental coordination, inter sectorial policies, the culture of food and nutrition education, the direct purchase of products from family farming for the school feeding programmes, as well as the training of all stakeholders.
National Fund for Education Development - BrazilLead applicant
Brazilian Agency for Technical Cooperation - ABC - BrazilInitiative partner
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations - BrazilInitiative partner
quality school feeding is essencial to the sustainable, social and human development of the countries.
The Innovative aspects considered by the project has generated changes in the political, technological, economical, cultural and social level in the countries.
- The sensibilization of the theme, the planning, the execution and monitoring of the project in an intersectorial way.
A methodology that predicts intense coordination with the countries and the different groups
- Proposing activities at regional and national level with the countries
- Diffusion of the theme on a regional level with various sectors and semgments such as parliamentarians, civil society in joint meetings
- Coordination at the regional, national and local level
- Trainining people at the local level for its sustainability after completion of the project
- The implementation of pedagogical school gardens
- The elaboration, monitoring, coordination, and intensive evaluation of the annual Operative Plans.
All countries have a school feeding programme. But, they are all different especially in quality and coverage. There are some countries that only attend part of the primary school population. The programmes are very centralized and they don’t involve the community. In some cases, the community only participates in the preparation of the food in their own homes. There are no qualified professionals for the food preparation and the kitchen doesn’t have adequate infrastructure. Most schools don’t develop education and nutritional actions. Some characteristics are common: focalization, dependence on external resources and technical support, centralized management, investment of resources primarily for the purchase and distribution of food; centralized procurement process, basically from large suppliers and international markets; standardized and poorly diversified food, consisting primarily of basic grains and/or processed foods; little amount of fresh foods.
The sustainability of actions developed by the Project is guaranteed by six essential elements:
1) Strengthening the institutional capacity of managers and technicians who are involved with school feeding policies;
2) Ensuring the provision of school meals as a social and state policy, implemented through systematic on-going programs with guaranteed resources by governments and the participation of all stakeholders;
3) Articulation of the school feeding policy with other policies, programs and actions that strengthen food security in the country;
4) Consolidation of the school feeding policy to become a public buyer of locally produced food from family farmers;
5) Participation of other sectors of society, such as: civil society through NGOs, associations, cooperatives, and parliaments, through a coordinated management of laws and other legal frameworks.
6) Promotion of social control through the active participation of local school communities.
The biggest beneficiaries are the students of public school. But the project works directly with Ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture and their technicians have been trained. We consider that the main need is the human training and the broader view of the subject. As one of its activity, the project has offered the semi face to face course - School Feeding: Development of Sustainable Programmes from the Brazilian Case, that aims to promote joint reflection of participants on national policies with a view to strengthening the debate on school feeding in the field of social development policies, based on the experiences and lessons learned in Brazil, and on the elements of sustainability for SFP, that have been built with the various countries of the Region. Another activity is the technical visit in Brazil and as well in the other participating countries, as important knowledge and information strategy for the stakeholder involved with the SF subject.
There are many stakeholders involved:
1) National level: with education and agriculture ministers, who in the development of activities delegate to directors, managers and implementers of school feeding public policy, as well as with technical specialists in school feeding in countries where the project has intervention.
This level has different professional profiles, so we have nutritionists, agronomists, lawyers, civil servants, teachers, economists, etc.
2) Municipal Level: Coordination with local actors at the level of municipalities, communities, it is highly relevant, since it articulates with municipalities, education sector, agriculture, health, NGOs working on food and nutritional security, and human development in general.
And specifically with school principals, teachers, municipal educational professionals, health, agriculture, mothers and fathers, family farmers, in all countries where the project has interventions. It is important to highlight the students involvement.
In the last decade the countries participating in the project had established the School Feeding Programme one of the biggest challenges was to conceptualize and focus on school feeding, with elements of sustainability (political commitment, budget, nutrition education, monitoring, social participation, among others). This process was accompanied by the presentation developed by the Brazilian model, to be used as a reference and adapted by each country, with the consideration that each country has its own political, social, economic and cultural reality. In short, it has been the south south exchange of experience, which is considered a strategy to go slowly, getting closer of giving a better approach to school feeding.
Another challenge is the change of the high level staff of the government. When this happens, we have to start over the dialogue about this subject.
The Declaration of the Experts Forum about Sustainable School Feeding Programmes for LAC, in 2012, define a number of recommendations, with emphasis in the the economic, social and environmental sustainability.
In the activity that takes place in 7 countries, "Sustainable Schools" is highlighted the construction of improved kitchens, and which this initiative it allows now less wood consumption, efficient use of water, mother's health care, better hygienic standards, etc.
Moreover, in the framework of "Sustanaible Schools", the teachers and the students can learn about many subjects: organic production, school gardens with pedagogical purposes, environmental education, the local economy, family farming, composts, water filtration, nutritional value of the food, amog others.
The main impact that the project offers is the possibility of improvement of the eating habits, the healthy lifestyle and the food culture. This impact creates great social changes.
A relevant learning process in the years of the project has been the consistent approach of national authorities (decision makers) specialists on the subject, which have formed National Committees, all to influence public policy on school feeding; in several cases to propose reforming of the legal framework as El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Paraguay.
Our project is inserted in regional initiatives such as IALCSH, Parliamentarians Forum Against Hunger in LAC. Equally significant is know that every country recognizes the results of the project activities as a reference for the strengthening of School Feeding Programmes, with focus on the sustainability of this social policy.
Other projects implemented by FAO are enriched by this methodology, at the same time, enrich the work developed in the field. For example, the Food Security Special Programme (Programa Especial de Seguridad Alimentaria - PESA).
- The creation of the intersectoral national technical comittee in each country.
- National study in 10 countries, the School Feeding Programmes and purchase possibilities from family farming (2013), these studies provide a reference for countries in the LAC region.
- Due to the above, a Regional Report was developed in 8 countries where SFPs is analyzed under the elements of sustainability on the experts Forum Declaration on School Feeding Programmes for LAC in 2012 was systematized.
- Semi face to face course (virtual mode), for 11 countries in the LAC region (in Spanish and English)
- Activity "Sustainable Schools" was established as pilot schools, where components such as interagency coordination, social participation, food and nutrition education, students nutritional status studies, improvement of infrastructure for school feeding and direct purchases from family farming for school feeding. Currently it runs in 73 schools in 7 countries.