School Feeding Programmes– Courtesy of his blog, gatesnote, World’s richest man, Bill Gates shared his lunch time experience with 67 8-year olds in Kicheba Primary school, Tanzania.
Having so many young people have become Africa’s biggest asset after natural resources. Bill Gates says food and education are basic needs which they need to take the continent to greater heights.
Bill Gates who is currently on a trip to Tanzania spent lunch time with young school pupils of the standard 3 class while discovering the extended importance of the policy.
“School lunch in particular is really about education. Getting them to come and getting them so they are energetic enough to really learn while they are there.”
“It’s a great thing. It doesn’t solve every problem but it’s definitely part of the solution.”
According to the World Food Program, 23 million primary school-age children in Africa attend classes hungry.
Let’s see some of the benefits of School Feeding Programmes in African schools.
1. Incentive For Formal Education/ Hunger Alleviation
Adopting school feeding programmes have become a trending incentive for African children to come to school. This works most in rural communities.
In Bill Gates words:
“This month, as children around the globe begin another school year, millions of students in the poorest countries (and even some in wealthy countries) will turn up for classes on an empty stomach, making it difficult for them to learn and continue their schooling.”
In areas where they are given free, the turnout is high. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. They get to quench their hunger and acquire education which is very much advocated for the future of the continent. In these areas, it serves as a sort of hunger alleviation though on the low scale.
2. Sense Of Community
If everyone is fed same thing, it helps to increase what we can call a class blindness; in the sense that everyone is viewed on an equal basis.
With the school feeding program, students from low income homes do not get intimidated by high students from high earning families. Besides it gives a sense of oneness when everyone is eating together.
School lunches are often planned with basic nutrition in mind. It helps to reduce the habit of eating junk and unhealthy foods.
Using Bill Gates’ experience, the children were served healthy balanced diet of rice and beans. Some homes may ordinarily not be able to afford it but school made it available for all. It is not out of order to say that school lunches are more nutritious than homemade meals in most families.
The healthy school lunch gives energy to the students and helps to improve their health in general.
4. Academic Excellence
With a nutritious lunch, the students benefit in areas of physical, cognitive and behavioral developments. Altogether this puts the students in a conducive state of learning.
Some studies have shown that students who eat healthy via the school feeding program are more likely to make higher scores in academics.
Unlike the nutritious school lunch, diets high in trans and saturated fats impede on learning and memory.
Michael L. Anderson of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues also reported that students who eat regular, healthy meals are less likely to be tired during class hours. They are more attentive and retain more information.
5. Economic Progress
Investing in the health and education of the children invariably means investing in the future of the society. The future of Africa’s dream economy lies in the general well-being of the growing generation.
Culled from Bill Gates blog:
“Economic modelling shows that every US$1 invested in school meal programs brings a US$3-10 economic return from improved health, education and productivity.”
World Food Program researched and found that school meals play a role in achieving Global Goals such as hunger/poverty alleviation, quality education, gender equality, improving the economy, and helping to reduce inequality.