Murakaza School has been giving the children a mug of porridge, and the school tells us they have noticed the difference this makes.
Darlene* is one of the pupils, and before we started the porridge project, she would often spend the whole day on an empty stomach. Now she has the energy to learn and play and - more importantly - she doesn't feel such a burden on her mum who needs to provide for her and her siblings alone.
This school feeding programme is so important for the children at the Murakaza School, as it has an immediate effect on children’s nutritional status. It also has an indirect effect on gender equality, household food security, and the community as a whole.
Making the children stronger helps them to fight off infections – something which is particularly important at the moment. A good example is improving the intake of iron. Iron deficiency, or anaemia, is widespread amongst school aged children in many low and middle-income countries. Providing a daily nutrient rich meal increases their iron status and improves overall health.
Girls’ attendance at school increases when school-feeding programmes are introduced. The more years she spends in education tends to mean she gets married later, and has fewer pregnancies. Higher educational achievement also reduces her risk of contracting HIV.
On the household level, school feeding programmes have the greatest benefits for the poorest in the community. As school meals account for 10% of a household’s income, they are a great economic relief and contribute to crucial savings, especially for families with more than one child.
This year we have been very fortunate in receiving funds to keep giving the children this daily meal, but we need to make sure that this school feeding is permanent, as it has a huge benefit to the family and the community as a whole. Please continue with your generous support.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.