WFP is providing schools in Malawi with the tools, techniques and expertise to self-produce nutritious meals for thousands of schoolkids. 

Every day, countless children across the globe turn up for school on an empty stomach, which makes it hard to focus on lessons. Many simply do not go, as their families need them to help in the fields or around the house. For all of them, a daily school meal can mean not only better nutrition and health, but also increased access to and achievement in education. It is also a strong incentive to consistently send children to school. Nowhere is this more relevant than in Malawi, where many families rely on subsistence farming and limited savings. If the annual rainfalls are particularly scarce, the impact on harvests and a family’s access to food is severe. In these situations, parents rely even more on school meals to meet the nutritional needs of their children. Yet the unpredictability of external donor funding can affect the continuity of WFP programmes, further reducing the incentive of parents to keep their children in school.

To reduce local dependency on aid organisations, the project promotes and supports the sustainable self-production of food in schools. With the help of the WFP Innovation Accelerator, WFP Malawi is developing an innovative new approach that allows WFP and partners to pass on a diverse range of expertise, from programme delivery to engineering, to local schools. WFP plans to help schools harness underground water reserves, such as Lake Malawi, by using pumps and wells. The project also aims to integrate food productions techniques such as hydroponics. Coupled with training on agri-business strategies, schools will be able to cover initial investment and maintenance costs by selling surplus on the local market. Working with implementing partners, WFP is developing an advisory / consultancy process that allows effective and quick analysis and intervention. It is anticipated that successful adoption by schools in Malawi will boost the self-production of food, reduce the cost of WFP-funded school meal programmes and ensure a rich and nutritious diet for thousands of school kids.

Since March 2017, WFP Malawi has secured and trained implementing partners in schools ahead of a first pilot due to start later this year. The project aims to pilot schools with large land availability in the Salima and Dedza districts of central Malawi