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Government launches school children feeding scheme

The authorities have initiated a program to provide meals to students in specific districts like Binga, Chivi, and Kariba in order to address malnutrition and reduce the number of children leaving school.

UNICEF has cautioned that approximately 580,000 children in Zimbabwe are in danger of experiencing severe malnutrition.

The Director of communications and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, told State media that some schools may not be eligible for the scheme.

Also Read: President Mnangagwa declares El Niño induced drought a national disaster

He said the goal of the feeding programme is to improve children’s nutrition and dietary diversity and prevent wasting. He said:

These districts were selected due to their high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition among school-going children.

When choosing the eligibility of a school, several factors like poverty rates, food security indicators, malnutrition prevalence and the vulnerability of the school’s catchment area are considered.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in collaboration with other development partners are working tirelessly to ensure that these children are helped and they get the food needed.

Nicholas Alipui, UNICEF’s representative in Zimbabwe, said that around 580,000 children in Zimbabwe under 5 years of age are experiencing severe child food poverty, making them up to 50 per cent more likely to experience wasting, a life-threatening form of malnutrition. He said:

Food insecurity among Zimbabwean children could further deteriorate in 2024 with the El Nino-induced drought that has caused above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall, with a ‘historic’ mid-season dry spell over the 2023/2024 agricultural season.

It is urgent to address child food poverty today to avoid more children being pushed into a life-threatening status of severe malnutrition.

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