Update: USDA Visits Food for Knowledge Project


The children had gathered in neat rows on the hot and sunny schoolyard and the Mozambican flag had been raised high up on the mast. The air was thick with festive anticipation. The moment the long-awaited visitors had come for had arrived, and both students and teachers burst into joyful song and dance.

The 17th of September 2013 marked a special day for the students of EPC Josina Machel Primary School: it was the first time they hosted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the context of the USDA-funded McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program, known as Food For Education. Being one of the 67 schools in Manhiça district (Maputo Province) benefiting from the program, the school was given the opportunity to interact directly with both the donor and the two implementing partners, Planet Aid and ADPP Mozambique. The visit was headed by Ronald L. Croushorn, Director of the Food Assistance Division at USDA in Washington D.C., and included various USDA, Planet Aid and ADPP Mozambique representatives.   

School workers setting out the corn-soy blend porridge for the studentsUSDA School Meals Making a Difference in Education
"We are very pleased to have Programs like this," affirmed Ronald Croushorn, USDA, during the visit. He continued by emphasizing the importance of the program in a country such as Mozambique where there is a great lack of even the most basic facilities, including school lunches. "It may be that this meal [the one funded through the Program] is the most important meal of the day for the children. (…) The USDA is proud that we are able to help children both with nutrition and education."

The observation was confirmed by Zacarias Almeida, Agriculture Specialist at USDA Mozambique: "According to what we have heard, the number of dropout children has diminished close to zero," he noted with satisfaction. "And therein lies the importance of the Program: we can see that the [Program] has an impact in terms of improving the education in Mozambique by reducing dropouts and in increasing the level of learning among children."

Planet Aid and ADPP Mozambique Ensuring Efficient Implementation
The USDA-funded Food For Education Program is a global school-feeding program that has been operational in more than 40 countries around the world for over 10 years. In Mozambique, USDA is working with altogether three partners, with Planet Aid and ADPP Mozambique being those implementing the Program in the southern province of Maputo.

"When we look at partners we look at the ability to implement the programs, the capacity within the country, and the relationship with the local governments," explains Ronald Croushorn, USDA. "Both Planet Aid and ADPP are among those: they have a presence in Mozambique and are able to implement the program and to make sure that US resources are used well to improve both education and nutrition."

Click here for more news reports about Planet Aid's and ADPP's implementation of the Food for Knowledge Project.

-Contributed by Elina Pettinen