Many communities in rural semi-arid areas of Uganda have currently re-stated their commitment to education as a vital human right. The need for all people to have access to quality education is also regarded as an essential plank for poverty reduction: human capital – education, knowledge, skills, access to and understanding of information – as part of the livelihoods approach that recognizes poverty to go beyond a lack of income.
During our stay in Uganda, we have been visiting school regularly. While visiting the school we found out that many children were too small for their age. After bringing this up during a meeting the board told us that many of the children were sent to school without breakfast. As the school doesn’t provide lunch, the first meal of the day is also their last meal. Due to this also concentration at school is lacking. Furthermore the lack of energy induces a higher level of absence and an increase in the number of drop outs.
Basic education is seen as a necessary condition for development. In addition, it is seen as a right for every child. In rural schools, many schools have enrolled many vulnerable pupils and students whom their parents are poor and some are totally orphans. More so, the introduction of free education resulted in increased enrolments without looking into supporting programme relating to school feeding programme in schools. Many poor, orphaned pupils/ student drop-outs of schools due to poverty/ hunger. Since many pupils/ students are poor and some of them will no longer have the enthusiasm of going to school and therefore forced early marriage.
Ever went to school or work with an empty stomach? Then surely you can remember the difficulties you had while trying to concentrate on the tasks given to you. Your attention gets drawn to that empty feeling inside your body, the cry for food.
For us the above mentioned scenario is just a nightmare, a nightmare that doesn’t happen. But for others it is not an incidental thing but occurring day after day. Who can stand there and see it happen and still do nothing.., just standing there and let those things happen without feeling pity for those people?
It also happens at the school we are working with in Uganda. More than half of the children come to school with little or no food for breakfast, just chewing some bush fruits, if they found any on the way to school. Getting in class with an empty stomach surely is not the right start for a day at school; concentration is lacking, attention is drawn to that gnawing feeling inside. Those children don’t have the energy for sports; fall sick more often as their resistance is undermined by under-nourishment and drop out more easily from school.
What would you do if you saw it happening? Would you just be the bystander or the one that would take action? Surely it is impossible to help the whole world but this doesn’t mean that we don’t have the obligation to help, even with just the little bits we can share.
That is why our foundation has the plan to start a school feeding programme. We want to give every child at that school a lunch.., every school day.., throughout the year. It doesn’t have to be a big meal with lots of varieties every day; it has to be a nutritious and healthy meal with all the basic elements in it.
The implementation of an extensive approach targeting poor, orphaned school-age children/ students especially girls in poor rural areas county to access quality education. The feeding component of the programme requires that through School heads, PTAs and parents with the support of us to provide one meal per day throughout the school terms. During the programme period, we will increase the number of meals provided by schools daily and include breakfast. Accordingly, by the end of the year, the schools’ committees will take over the responsibility for the school-feeding component and run it fully.
Currently the sustainability of the programme depends on continued support from friends, R.H.D fundraising and donation of food stuffs from local private companies. The program needs to be more fully integrated into the educational system. we intends to identify resources from donors, well
The area we are working in is the rural area of Uganda
The people in this area make their living by growing maize and sell the surplus. Most people in the area don’t have a job but just a piece of land where they live and grow their food. The little money they need comes from selling the surplus of maize.
Other crops that are grown in the area are cash crops like coffee but also many people grow sweet potatoes and peanuts. Vegetables are grown for own use, just a surplus might be sold to neighbours or to institutions like schools or hospitals on the local market.
Most people live in huts as building a real house is too expensive. Also no electricity or piped water is available and people are getting their water from a well or borehole.
The life of an orphan has many elements that need attention. Aspects of health, education and human life circumstances have a high priority. it is impossible for us to focus on all these elements at this moment. We had to make choices. The choices we made were based on improving the future of the orphans within the limited possibilities of the foundation.
Therefore our objectives are defined as:
To stimulate the education of children and especially orphans by paying all the costs to follow an education. This includes school fees, school books and school uniforms.
To take care of orphans who have no acceptable place to stay. For this a orphanage home is build with the possibility to shelter six orphans in a family-like environment.
Our goal is to be able to give the support, up to the moment that the school is able to pay those costs itself by developing ways to do so with the help of the foundation.
Programme Goal, Objectives & Results Goals: The goal of programme is to provide a school-based lunch, most of whom are poor, orphans and vulnerable school children/ students.
Objectives: The main objective of the programme is to provide accountability and learning purposes in achieving various educational modalities, gender disparity among children from poor background. Increase the number of discriminated, exploited and neglected kids; to enrollment in schools in all levels and maintain them in the schools by providing easy way to access their education.
Project ResultsNutritionalbenefits. Through a well balanced lunch, it evidence that school feeding programme has a positive impact on nutrition for participating children. In some instances, parents may provide less food at home, and the school meal simply replaces a home meal rather than adding food to the child’s diet.
Impact on education and the link between hunger and learning. It is believed that children who are hungry or chronically malnourished are less able to learn, regardless of the setting. But the converse— that children in school feeding and food for education programmes are better able to learn—only holds true when the food is accompanied by other inputs related to school quality.
Impact on attendance. The evidence strongly suggests that school feeding programs can increase attendance rates, especially for girls. School feeding or take-home rations serve as incentives for enrolling children in school and encouraging daily attendance. This is likely a short-term solution; however, because if there is no change in the quality of schooling (or increase in intrinsic demand for education) attendance will likely drop once the food incentive is removed. children who drop-out of school tend to get married at an early age. Alleviate short-term hunger in malnourished or otherwise well-nourished schoolchildren. Increase the attention and concentration of children/students producing gains in cognitive function and learning.
Get a broad picture of how school feeding may impact on education achievement, and a deeper understanding of the process of implementation at school level.
To provide a school lunch every school day to all children at Basic School
To provide the children with all the nutrients they need for a healthy growth.
On- or off-site preparation
The first and major consideration is the location where the lunch is going to be prepared. The school is in a rural area, around 300 kilometres away from any town. If the preparation of the lunch would be elsewhere the costs of transport would make up a considerable part of the costs of the programme as the current prices of fuel are over $2.50 per litre. Therefore and including the fact that the school has no transport itself, the choice has been made for onsite preparation.
As result of the area the school is situated, it is possible to acquire all vegetables locally, hereby decreasing the costs of transport and giving a small boost to the local economy. This practise needs to be done with care as buying from the same farmer over and over again might create anger with others.
The school has committed itself to organize the volunteers that will prepare the food. Major consideration in this is to make sure that the quality and hygiene is of a high standard.
Time of lunch
To have a maximum positive effect of the programme on educational objectives, it is important that the food is prepared and given to the children early during the day. Regarding the work that has to be done to get the food prepared the best moment would be between 11:00 and 02:00.
Appropriateness of cooking practices
To prevent diseases that are related to poor hygiene it is very important that the cooking site is clean and properly maintained. Also the pots, plates and cups that are used to serve the food should be thoroughly cleaned every day.
Integrating other nutrition and health supplements
As the lunch is an organized meal for the whole school it is a very good opportunity to integrate other nutrition like extra vitamins. It is also a very good opportunity to add health supplements for example to cure worm infections, a very common infection with children in Africa.
Moment of purchase
Most of the products used to prepare the school lunch can be stored over a long period of time. It is recommendable to buy those products in large quantities to save on fuel costs. Furthermore as many prices change during the year, it is worthwhile to purchase those products during those seasons when the prices are low.
At this moment the school doesn’t have a school garden. Our plan is to start developing it this year, before the rainy season starts. The primary objective with the garden is to teach the students responsibility on growing their own food and teach them how to do it. On the other hand the school garden can contribute to the school lunch and also will contribute to the funds school has by selling surplus of produce. In this way the dependence on other sources of money will decrease and in the end hopefully will stop any need for external support for the school lunch and school fees for the orphans.
Other than vegetables is also possible to keep one or two cows or goats. The advantage of this is that left-over food, that else would have been thrown away, can be used to feed the animals.
To cope with the lack of concentration and the high absence of children in class, we made a plan. The name of the plan is ‘Project School Lunch Basic School’. This project will give the school the possibility to provide all the children with a lunch. This lunch should provide all nutrients that children at that age need to grow up in a healthy way. Within the scope of that project the availability of local products has to be taken in account when acquiring the food. In this way, the project also will create a market for local farmers thus increasing their income.
The school feeding programme
The school feeding programme will have the same food as what the children are used to eat at home It should have all the necessary nutrients that are needed for growing up children.
Maize is the staple food. It lacks enough protein for a proper meal therefore this lack needs to be addressed in other ways. This will be done by adding that protein with the products that are used to prepare the relish.
The vegetables used for the school lunch will be mainly cabbage as this is available in abundance, can be stored over a longer period of time and also has a good amount of vitamins and minerals. It is a common habit to mix them with some tomatoes or onion.
Rice and beans.They all have a high protein content and therefore will complement the lack of protein in the maize.
Other things that are needed are cooking oil and salt.
This are the steps that have to be taken before the school lunch can start.
Build a small kitchen with a small storage to be able to do the cooking. This small kitchen is budgeted for €750 euro. At the moment we are working on a project to integrate this kitchen with the kitchen that is needed for the health post that is going to be built. In this way there is no need to build two different kitchens and it is possible to build a better one.
Buy cutlery, pots, plates and cups to distribute the children. This will be paid by the foundation.
Create a stock of needed items. The storage of the kitchen has a capacity for enough products for a month.
Get a stock of firewood. Due to the nature of the area and the few people that live there it is possible to use firewood as it won’t increase the risk of deforestation in that area. The idea is to build a wood-saving oven in the future but for the time being firewood and charcoal will be used. As soon as there is electricity an electric stove will be added to the kitchen equipment.
Train the volunteers that will prepare the food. To make sure that the food is prepared in a healthy way, all the volunteers will need some form of training. For this a local cook has offered his services.
Prepare a place where remains of the meal can be disposed of. This could be connected to a school garden where one or two cows or goats can be held to be fed by this, thus adding to the budget.
The food stuffs received are stored in the organization’s store and later distributed to the schools at specific time. The organization covers the transportation cost and in the same way track and monitor; proper usage of the food stuffs through monthly report by school head teachers/ principals. The programme focuses on poor, orphaned children in rural remote schools and is facing hunger. Currently, the programme is running in 4 schools and one orphan home in the county and is believed to replicate regionally and cover more schools in other counties.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The field programme officers monitor and visit these schools at least once per week. They monitor and speak to the pupils/students, teachers, and administrators, inspect documentation such as stock books, distribution lists, and the school’s own attendance records. Each day, the catering personnel’s include one extra plate; so that the monitoring officers can pick a meal at random (from any of the plate). The removed sample is weighed and tested for value and standard by the field officers.
Monitoring and evaluation is the responsibility of both donor and officer. Donor monitoring is effectiveness based. This is done through a term-based report about the programme to the donor. The monitoring officers are responsible for collecting quantitative and qualitative data from schools.
The needy schools to be supported are selected based on geographical location and one gender. Schools are selected at random, with a minimum of two schools selected from each case except for the two cases where only one school is presented.
Food stuffs distributed to schools follow a term-based menu cycle. The content of the meals served are therefore valued at an average of 800-1000 calories, with a calcium content of 348.45 mg and an iron content of 4.14 mg. he also look forward to introduce juices in addition to the stuffs; fortified with vitamins A, C, and iron. The programme has a positive effect on the nutritional status of children.
In the following table, all feeding needs and their costs are described in details:
|PROJECT||No.||Rice||Maize flour||Beans||Cooking oil||Sugar||Salt||Milk||Bread||Cooking powder||Charcoal||Rice||Maize flour||Beans||Cooking oil||sugar||Salt||Milk||Bread||Cooking powder||Charcoal||Rice||Maize flour||Bean||Cooking oil||sugar||Salt||Milk||Bread||Cooking powder||Charcoal||TOTAL||OVERALL COST PER MONTH|
|Of kids||kg||kg||kg||litre||kg||kg||litre||pcs.||kg||kg||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Unit Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost||COST|
|UGANDA||Stephanie Aerni School & Orphanage||80||45||100||100||10||25||6.5||90||60||3||150||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||45||50||50||10||25||3.25||46.8||60||9.99||40.5||340.54||8151.712|
|BRING HOPE TO PARENTLESS HOME||20||11.2||25||25||2.6||6.2||1.6||22.6||15||0.8||37.6||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||11.2||12.5||12.5||2.6||6.2||0.8||11.752||15||2.664||10.152||85.368|
|SATURDAY CHILDREN OUTRICH||100||56||125||125||13||31||8||113||75||4||188||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||56||62.5||62.5||13||31||4||58.76||75||13.32||50.76||426.84|
|STANDARD PAGE PARENTS SCHOOLS||400||224||500||500||52||124||32||452||300||16||752||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||224||250||250||52||124||16||235.04||300||53.28||203.04||1707.36|
|MOTHER ANN NURSERY SCHHOOL||90||50.4||112.5||112.5||11.7||27.9||7.2||101.7||67.5||3.6||169.2||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||50.4||56.25||56.25||11.7||27.9||3.6||52.884||67.5||11.988||45.684||384.156|
|LUTEETE S S||900||504||1125||1125||117||279||72||1017||675||36||1692||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||504||562.5||562.5||117||279||36||528.84||675||119.88||456.84||3841.56|
|Food needs per child per month||0.56||1.25||1.25||0.13||0.31||0.08||1.13||0.75||0.04||1.88||1||0.5||0.5||1||1||0.5||0.52||1||3.33||0.27||0.56||0.625||0.625||0.13||0.31||0.04||0.5876||0.75||0.1332||0.5076||4.2684|
|TOTAL NUMBER OF CHILDREN||1910||1069.8||1193.75||1193.75||247.9||592.3||76.45||1122.108||1432.5||253.746||969.408|