In the US, many of us take basic education and a hot meal for granted. At MCF, our goal is to provide these necessities to Ugandan children, one school at a time. Our innovative 10:30 porridge program addresses the underlying cause of low attendance & high dropout rates by providing a hot meal a day for schoolchildren. Using this approach, we give parents an immediate, tangible reason to keep their children enrolled, while at the same time "providing a means & belief in self to escape poverty."
Three out of five Ugandan children are forced to drop out of elementary school. Because most families live on less than $1 a day, older children are often kept at home to perform chores, work, and/or care for younger siblings and ailing parents. In addition, parents do not see the long-term benefits of an education, as they themselves are uneducated. Yet, at MCF, we continue to believe that education is the only escape from poverty.
Our 10:30 porridge program identifies and changes the indifferent attitudes parents have towards primary schooling. We incentivize parents to keep their children in school by providing a daily porridge meal to students at rural, government-aided schools. In the short term, parents will benefit from a reduced burden to provide for their families, while the long-term benefits of a population with increased literacy and basic arithmetic skills is an investment in the future of the community.
Parents encourage their children to attend school to be fed. Therefore, schools with the porridge program demonstrate steady and consistently high attendance, in stark contrast to schools without it. Schools implementing the 10:30 porridge program have increased enrollment by as much as 23%, reduced dropouts by 47% and reduced sick days dramatically. Children receiving a hot meal have demonstrated both improved concentration and subject mastery in the classroom, resulting in boosted test scores.
Mpambara Cox Foundation