BRASILIA, Brazil, September 1, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At the conclusion of the successful mission of the AU to Brazil last week, it was agreed that the AUC and the Centre for Excellence against Hunger in Brazil would develop a working partnership in order to share the Brazilian experience with the African union systematically. Launched by World Food Programme and the Government of Brazil, the Centre of Excellence is a joint initiative which aims to help countries expand their school meal programmes so as to improve the food security of children.
The mission to Brazil was led by HRST Commissioner Dr Martial De Paul Ikounga; and included a high level delegation of Minister for Education of Niger; Minister for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Development of Zimbabwe; Minister of State from the Northern Region of Ghana; Counsellor of the Embassy of Cameroon in Brazil representing the Cameroon Minister for Basic Education; and senior officials representing Ministers from Malawi and Kenya. SADC was also represented, as well as the department for Rural Economy and Agriculture. The mission was organized by the World Food Programme Centre of Excellence for Fight Against Hunger, and WFP offices to the African union and to Niger.
The partnership will also facilitate collaborative research towards building a robust body of knowledge to inform policy and practice in eradication of hunger; establish and strengthen management information systems to enable systematic monitoring and evaluation in order to inform policy interventions and ensure that all those in need are reached. This will help more African countries implementing school feeding programmes to graduate methodically from depending on external aid, to building homegrown and self-sufficient programmes.
Earlier in the week, the acting minister for Education Luiz Claudio Costa had explained to the AU delegation that the school feeding programme in Brazil also started with a model based on international aid, with partners such as WFP, UNICEF and USAID, back in the 1950’s, moved to a national model only in the 1990’s, and has only become self-sufficient over the last decade. Procuring food produced by smallholder farmers to supply school feeding programmes as an example of an effective and successful way to achieve food security, while promoting income generation, entrepreneurship and innovation within local communities. The acquisition of food from smallholder farmers for the school feeding programme is determined by law in Brazil.