Zimbabwe + 1 more

World Food Program Resumes Food Distribution in Zimbabwe

This development follows a report in the Senate that most children do not attend school because of hunger and the government plans to implement feeding programs in schools.

Sithandekile Mhlanga

25.10.2013

WASHINGTON — The World Food Program (WFP) says it has started distributing food and cash to one million vulnerable people in Zimbabwe following indications that at least 2,2 million people in mostly drought-prone rural areas will require food aid from October to March next year.

This development follows a report to the Senate by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora on Thursday that most children do not attend school because of hunger, and the government will implement feeding programs in schools.

Steve Taravella, senior WFP spokesperson told VOA the UN agency has been awarded $81 million in food commodities from the U.S Department of Agriculture at a critical time for their school meals activities that are going on in developing countries, as poor households in many circumstances must choose between sending their children to school or sending them to work.

He said a school meal is a strong incentive to send the child to school and for many it may be the only meal they receive that day. The beneficiaries include Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, and Cambodia.

Taravella added that the feeding scheme will likely assist in keeping the girl child at school as parents will realize that they will miss a meal if they keep them at home to help with family chores.

However, a WFP official in Zimbabwe says the agency’s program in Zimbabwe does not necessarily target children, but vulnerable families, who may include minors.

For perspective on the issue, VOA reached Reverend Useni Sibanda, former Christian Alliance director, who says the country should produce more food for its citizens instead of relying on yearly donations.

Interview with Useni Sibanda