France partners with WFP to promote food security, nutrition and education in Giteca, Burundi
03-12-2019 08:08:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 4726 | Tags:
France announced a €500,000 contribution to strengthen a local milk value chain in Gitega province of Burundi to assist 18,500 people, including 13,500 schoolchildren and 5,000 smallholder farmers, pregnant women, nursing mothers and adolescents who are among the most vulnerable to food insecurity.
“I thank France for its contribution, which will support an extraordinary value chain. It will strengthen children's nutrition, health and access to education; at the same time as a private-public partnership supports farmers and the economic sector in Burundi, ”said Erika Joergensen, the East Africa Regional Director for the World Food Program (WFP).
"For WFP it is an honor to work with the Burundian government to improve the nutrition of children and access to education and health care because children are the future of Burundi."
The project provides 13,500 children at 20 elementary schools with 250 ml or UHT milk each twice a week. In addition, 5,000 local milk-producing farm households will be trained for nine months in techniques to improve conditions for collecting, storing and transporting milk.
"France joins forces with WFP and the people of Burundi to help improve food insecurity in the most affected communities," said Stephane Gruenberg, Ambassador of France to the Republic of Burundi. "We couldn't be a contributor to a project with school painters at its heart that has a real impact on the local economy and nutritional status of the people of Gitega."
WFP's School Feeding Program supports the government's development plan, which aims to educate all children, especially those from vulnerable families. Over the past decade, school feeding has helped ensure access to quality education, reduce school drop-out rates due to hunger and poverty, improve child nutrition and thus increase enrollment, retention and success or school painters in those provinces most affected by food insecurity in Burundi. 
WFP has also boosted agricultural production by purchasing more than 30 percent of the food served in school canteens from local farmers. "We would like to thank France from the bottom of our heats for its financial contribution to make this project possible," Dr. said. Joseph Butore, Second Vice-President of the Republic of Burundi. “We ask France to continue its support for the national school canteen project. We encourage people to participate in livestock cooperatives to increase milk production and consumption and the sale of the surplus to processing plants.”
Burundi is fully committed to advancing school feeding. In 2019, the government allocated US $ 2.4 million of which US $ 1 million went to strengthen the milk value chain. The government considers school feeding as a strategy to strengthen the education system's resilience.
WFP bought and supplied 420,000 liters of locally produced milk to nearly 37,000 school children in 2017 and 2018. This increased local farmers' revenue from US $ 400 to US $ 650 each a year. Milk is a nutritious food that provides children with animal protein, which is key to growth and health.
In 2018, WFP and its partners provided hot and nutritious meals for more than 600,000 students - 1 in 4 school-age children in Burundi - in 800 primary schools in the country.
More than 2,300 metric tons of food were purchased locally from smallholders, representing a US $ 2.3 million investment in the local economy. This was thanks to contributions from the Government of Burundi, European Union, World Bank, Netherlands and Principality of Monaco.