AO TOME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is increasing support to 25,000 school-aged children enrolled in the National School Feeding and Health Programme (PNASE) in Sao Tome and Principe thanks to a USD700,000 contribution from the Chellaram Foundation.
The operation which begun a week after the Government had declared a nation-wide State of Calamity aims at meeting the immediate food and nutrition needs of children and their families while also supporting education goals as schools are reopening.
“It is a relief to be able to deliver this much-needed food now to address the immediate needs of children and their families,” said Yasmin Wakimoto, WFP’s Interim Representative in São Tomé and Príncipe. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on the poorest families and seriously impaired children's access to adequate food. WFP is committed to working with partners including the Ministry of Education to ensure schoolgirls and boys receive a healthy and nutritious meal a day as they return to school.”
To curb the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Sao Tome and Principe imposed a new month-long State of Calamity on 18 September. Classes were suspended in public and private schools, for all levels of education, except for kindergartens. Families had to find ways to feed at home, children normally benefiting from school meals. Since 2020, the COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated the food and nutrition security in the country with 32,000 vulnerable families currently not knowing where their next meal will come from.
With the reopening of schools on 6 October 2021, WFP will continue providing on-site meals to the school children registered under the National School Feeding Programme. Thanks to the donation from the Chellaram Foundation, WFP will ensure 25,000 children receive at least one nutritious meal a day in São Tomé and Príncipe, until February 2022.
“For these children, it means being able to return to an education that gives them some hope of breaking the cycle of poverty,” said Mr. Lal Chellaram, Founder of the Chellaram Foundation. “With this food now in the hands of children and their families, we are one step closer to achieving our goal with this partnership: to help feed the dreams of children of Sao Tome and Principe”.
Present in Sao Tome and Principe since 1976, WFP assistance is focused on strengthening capacities of the Government to implement the national sustainable home-grown school feeding programme, which reaches over 50,000 children attending schools (around 25 percent of total population) and facilitating smallholder farmers’ access to markets.