USDA Visits McGovern-Dole Program in Mozambique

On September 13, Clay Hamilton, USDA Associate Administrator for Agriculture; Kyle Bonsu, Agricultural Attaché from the Foreign Agriculture Service in Pretoria, South Africa; and Susan Waage, from the USDA Office of Capacity Building and Development, visited Food for Knowledge project schools in Manhiça and Magude as part of a USDA field visit.

Food for Knowledge (FFK) is Planet Aid's project, funded by the USDA under the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and implemented by ADPP Mozambique, in collaboration with the Government of Mozambique. The USDA visit served as an opportunity for officials to observe the progress of the project and to see the impact the program is having in the lives of the child-beneficiaries in Mozambique.

Speaking to the Machambutana community in Manhiça, Hamilton expressed USDA's appreciation for the program's impact on the future of the children in Mozambique. He also praised the community's enthusiasm in supporting the project, as many community members volunteer with the project on a regular basis.

Clay Hamilton, USDA Associate Administrator for Agriculture, plants a tree with an FFK student.

In turn, the community members spoke about their increasing motivation to support the project as the impact on children's lives has been positive and never more evident. Julieta Matavele, a parent from the Muchamba community, said: "We are happy with the work that is being done here in our community. FFK is bringing many benefits to our children. Today they study well and they don't skip school... They are happy and we parents are too!"

The students, who are the direct beneficiaries of the project, are excited about the project as well. "Our school is different, we now have food every day. We learned how to have a healthy diet and how to maintain hygiene in our daily lives," said Julia Rafael Sambo, a seventh-grade student.

This increasingly positive impact has also been recognized by the Government of Mozambique. According to the Manhiça District Director for Education and Human Development, Teresa Matola, the project has been helping meet the objectives set by the Government of Mozambique regarding the reduction of school dropout levels. "We are grateful for the support that the [FFK] partners have been providing to the province, specifically the Manhiça district, where [the project] benefits 85 schools and around 43,000 students, which are very significant numbers," she said.

Planet Aid's Food for Knowledge project is providing school lunches in the form of a protein-rich, corn-soy blended porridge. On a daily basis, it goes to over 86,000 students across 271 schools in four districts.

Hamilton and Susan Waage, from the USDA Office of Capacity Building and Development, look over the corn-soy blend distribution lists.

Birgit Holm, ADPP Mozambique Executive Director, and Isaisas Wate, FFK Program Manager, show off the corn-soy blend with Hamilton and Waage.

USDA representatives look over the FFK literacy materials.

Waage plants a tree with an FFK student.

Project staff speak in a Home Grown School Feeding Garden.

FFK students enjoy their lunches.