Boosting African School Canteens with Local Food Sources


Côte d'Ivoire celebrates African School Feeding Day, launching an initiative to boost school canteens with local food sources for student success.

Daloa, March 7, 2023 – The 9th African School Feeding Day (JAAS), officially celebrated on Thursday, March 7, 2024, at the Jean Lorougnon Guédé University of Daloa, saw the launch of a national push for community mobilization. The goal: ensure a sustainable supply of **local school food** for canteens across Côte d'Ivoire.

Organized by the Ministry of National Education and Literacy, and supported by the World Food Program (WFP), this year's theme is "Investing in **local school food** to transform educational systems for an inclusive and prosperous future of the African continent".  The ceremony was led by the chief of staff of the Minister of National Education and Literacy, Kouadio Konan Raoul.

Local School Food and Boosting Education

"This ceremony shows Côte d'Ivoire's commitment to school feeding. We aim to improve school access, keep students engaged, and develop the local economy by boosting agriculture and entrepreneurship in our communities," explained Raoul.

He praised the president of the Sud-Comoé Regional Council, Eugène Aka Aouélé, for his initiative to provide **local school food** throughout his region: "He included school meals for 20 canteens in his Regional Council budget. We encourage other regional and municipal councils to learn from Sud-Comoé's example and support our children's educational success."

Raoul thanked WFP and all donors for their continued support in making school feeding sustainable within the country.

Local School Food: Successes and Challenges

WFP Deputy Country Director, Séverine Giroud, echoed the government's commitment and reiterated her institution's desire to support Côte d'Ivoire's efforts.

School canteen director, Jérôme Ayékoé, highlighted that for the 2023-2024 school year, 5,602 public primary schools have canteens – a positive step.  However, out of over 3 million students, only about a third receive regular school meals. Of those, some receive meals for fewer days than others due to funding limitations.

The Power of Community for Local School Food

The African School Feeding Day celebration highlighted the importance of community-level action to ensure that all Ivorian students have access to nutritious local school food. This means:

  • Supporting local farmers:  Sourcing food from local farmers strengthens the agricultural sector and the overall economy.
  • Engaging parents and volunteers:  Community support can help with meal preparation and distribution.
  • Advocating for funding:  Local leaders can champion school feeding initiatives and advocate for sustainable funding models.

Côte d'Ivoire's commitment to local school food  demonstrates how African nations can invest in the education and well-being of their children while simultaneously boosting their local economies. By mobilizing communities and focusing on sustainable food sources, the goal of nutritious meals for all students becomes achievable.

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