Ministries work together in Madagascar to revive their School Feeding Programme
Following a successful five-month pilot programme in 2013 coordinated by the Office for National Nutrition (ONN), 2015 is the year that Madagascar is reviving their National School Feeding Programme. The previous programme was abandoned in 2009 due to the political crisis and now a team of people from multiple ministries are leading the new programme including Holy Raobelina, Coordinator of the Office for National Nutrition (ONN) and SUN Government Focal Point. Key ministries are working together to implement the programme including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Women Promotion.
Not only will the programme provide school meals, it aims to defeat micronutrient deficiencies with bio-fortified beans, support local small farmers and even considers its impact on diversifying the local diet. A bean composite flour was used for its pilot as part of a partnership between the ONN, the Ministry of Education and a local for-profit company. On the usage of beans, Holy Raobelina says “There is just too much rice in our diet; we eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We even drink rice water.. We need to diversify our diet, and beans are a good alternative because apart from the grain you can also eat the leaves as vegetables. This is an important source of vitamins, which are also lacking in the Malagasy people”.
The national program also includes the creation of community nutrition centres, where a series of activities are organized to inform and support families, and especially monitor mothers and young children during the first 1,000 days of life. The centres are assisted by local NGO’s and community leaders who host the activities and play a key role in mobilizing community members.