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UN World Food Program likely to cut School Meal for 1.3 Million Children in Africa unless it receives $48 million

The vital programs are endangered because of the competing humanitarian crises around the world, says WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher

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FILE - А boy is seen eating dry couscous in the village of Goudoude Diobe, in the Matam region of northeastern Senegal. Image source: VOA
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The U.N. World Food Program warns it may be forced to end school meals for more than 1.3 million children in west and central Africa unless it receives $48 million.

School begins in September and October in Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. More than half-a-million children in those countries are likely to be deprived of life-saving school meals, according to the WFP.

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Another 700,000 children in 11 other countries will no longer receive the crucial meals when their schools start later in the year.

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Bettina Luescher, WFP spokeswoman, says the vital programs are endangered because of the competing humanitarian crises around the world.

The situation in west and central Africa is especially critical, she says, because WFP is the sole or main provider of school meals in most of the region.

“Families rely on this. If we cannot deliver this, they often are really stuck,” Luescher said. “What could happen is that families take their children out of school. We have seen that all over the world — if money is being spent on school meals, the whole country will profit, the family will profit, the villages will profit.”

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Without those WFP meals, she says, children who go to school on an empty stomach cannot concentrate, and many will become malnourished.

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“What it means is they … will never be as productive in the long run as other children would be,” Luescher added. “School meals help the children, especially girls, get an education.”

Studies by the WFP on the cost of hunger show that for every dollar invested in school meals, there is an overall $3 to $8 economic return. (VOA)

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  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    How painful is this… the children suffer only because money is off higher importance!sad!

Next Story

A lesson in the woods may boost kids’ learning

Moreover, the number of times the teacher had to redirect a student's attention to their work was roughly halved immediately after an outdoor lesson.

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Just sitting in classrooms makes children more dull. Wikimedia Commons
Just sitting in classrooms makes children more dull. Wikimedia Commons
  • To help students concentrate and learn more, teachers have found a new way of teaching them.
  • This technique of teaching outdoors will boost children’s mental capabilities to learn and remember.

Are your students unable to concentrate on their lessons in the classroom? Take them for outdoor learning sessions.

According to a study, a lesson in the lap of nature can significantly increase children’s attention level and boost their learning.

While adults exposed to parks, trees or wildlife have been known to experience benefits such as increased physical activity, stress reduction, rejuvenated attention and increased motivation, in children, even a view of greenery through a classroom window can have positive effects on their attention span, the researchers said.

The study showed that post an outdoor lesson, students were significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork and were not overexcited or inattentive.

Taking students outside help them concentrate more. Wikimedia Commons
Taking students outside help them concentrate more. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the number of times the teacher had to redirect a student’s attention to their work was roughly halved immediately after an outdoor lesson.

“Our teachers were able to teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long at a time after the outdoor lesson and we saw the nature effect with our sceptical teacher as well,” said Ming Kuo, a scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tested their hypothesis in third graders (9-10 years old) in a school.

A few minutes outside help students concentrate better. VOA
A few minutes outside help students concentrate better. VOA

Over a 10-week period, an experienced teacher held one lesson a week outdoors and a similar lesson in her regular classroom and another, more sceptical teacher did the same. Their outdoor “classroom” was a grassy spot just outside the school, in view of a wooded area.

A previous research suggested that 15 minutes of self-paced exercise can also significantly improve a child’s mood, attention and memory. IANS