This service, which extends to 21,800 students and teachers across North Kivu, ensures that children—who would otherwise go hungry—are well-nourished, able to attend class and focus on their studies.Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, visited Bwirangula Primary School last week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) eastern province of North Kivu, where World Vision and the World Food Programme (WFP) run a school feeding programme.
Daily hot meals, consisting of corn meal, beans and peas, supplemented by vegetables from the school garden, are provided to 530 students and 11 teachers. This service, which extends to 21,800 students and teachers across North Kivu, ensures that children—who would otherwise go hungry—are well-nourished, able to attend class and focus on their studies.
During his visit, the Secretary General stressed the importance of meeting the needs of the many children displaced by civil conflict, when he said:
“We have to give hope to…young people. Particularly, we have to do much more to bring all these children back to school. It is important to provide life-saving assistance to those people who need daily humanitarian assistance.”
Despite its vast agricultural potential, chronic food insecurity and malnutrition are widespread; DRC ranked as the hungriest country in the world in the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Worldwide Hunger Index in 2011.
Anne-Marie Connor, World Vision Director of the Eastern Zone of DRC explained the food programme helps children with their education, "The nutritious lunch helps them stay concentrated on their studies, and gives the kids a stable routine - something sorely needed after the violence they have experienced." Some 67% of students in Bwiangula have been displaced due to conflict.
On a Mission for Humanity
This visit was a part of the Secretary-General’s ‘Mission for Humanity’ to build momentum toward the World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey this May.
Over the past 3 years, World Vision has actively engaged in WHS consultations and discussions on global and local issues that challenge the humanitarian system.
When there is no food
When school feeding programmes are not available there are dire consequences, as highlighted in World Vision’s recent policy report, When there is no food assistance.
In the report, one school director was quoted as saying:
“When food is here kids are happy, motivated and attentive and [they] work hard because they’re not hungry. When there is no food, all they can think about is food and what they can find when they get home.”
The report recommends that all actors step up to fund emergency appeals and provide food assistance today, while building resilience, saving lives and protecting livelihoods for tomorrow.
A school girl in DRC describes life without school feeding programmes, which are implemented in 169 countries.
In related news, the African Unionrecognised March 1 as the first ever Africa Day for School Feeding. World Vision, in collaboration with the World Food Programme, governments and other partners, continually celebrate this by implementing school feeding programmes in 13 countries and working towards a hunger-free world.
 DRC has not been ranked in the Hunger Index since 2011 due to a lack of data.