A third of Cameroon’s children younger than five suffer from malnutrition. Hunger and poverty are widespread, and many families cannot afford to send their children to school. School attendance is low, especially among girls, many of whom are forced to enter early marriages as a way to earn the resources needed to feed their families.
Counterpart has been working on our Food for Education program in Cameroon since 2008, with our current project beginning in 2012. Our program is more than just a food distribution project: we take a multi-sectoral approach, working in partnership with local leaders to improve school attendance and literacy, reduce hunger and strengthen the capacity of local communities to become more self-reliant. The program promotes health and hygiene, community-grown food and parent engagement by delivering daily school meals and “take home” rations, building community gardens, improving school infrastructure and educating communities about the value of education.
Select project impacts include:
- increasing girls’ school attendance 27 percent in the 2013-2014 school-year;
- adding more than 3,000 books to school libraries;
- improving infrastructures at 497 schools;
- producing 172 metric tons of food from community gardens;
- reaching 501,087 children and adults with school meals or trainings;
- launching the Importance of Education campaign that reached 240,000 parents and community members;
- increasing hand-washing practices in homes by 40 percent.
Sustainable Development Goals Addressed
Funder: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Collaborators: Helen Keller International (HKI); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); World Food Program; Doctors without Borders; Ministry of Basic Education; Ministry of Public Health; National Network of Mothers’ Associations for Girls’ Education (RECAMEF); parent teacher associations and student mother associations.