School feeding program earns high marks in Mauritania

In the village of Sarandougou Djibéride, located roughly 50 miles from Aleg in the southwest of Mauritania, elementary schools face multiple challenges, but none so fundamental as school feeding. Lack of nutritious meals during the school day affects a child’s ability to learn. School feeding is linked to advancing human capital development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Aissata Ibrahima Ba enjoys rice and lentils with her classmates in the school canteen.

“The Future is Ours!” is a McGovern Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program that seeks to alleviate hunger, improve nutrition, and enhance literacy in low-income countries. Counterpart implements this program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of the participating elementary schools is in Sarandougou Djibéride, where the program has secured the provisions for a school canteen and Aissata Ibrahima Ba attends 6th grade.

 

“It was complicated before the canteens,” explains Ba. “I live about 500 meters from school. I usually eat rice with fish or meat in the house during the day and a light meal in the evening. [Now] I eat rice with lentils at school and very often I do not eat at home thanks to the canteens to which I give the note of 19/20.”

The director of the school, Mr. Oumar Mamadou Kelly, said the school canteen has “revived the school with great dynamism.”

 

Government commitment to school feeding

Counterpart, in partnership with USDA and the government of Mauritania, implemented this program, which has contributed significantly to reducing absences and motivating children to come on time and stay in school.

Representatives of the Ministry of Education and NGOs participate in the African Day of School Feeding celebration.

On March 2, 2022, Mauritania celebrated the African Day of School Feeding with the participation of the Ministry of Education, the Commission for Food Security and the General Delegation for Solidarity and Fight Against Exclusion (known as TAAZOUR). At the celebration, Counterpart’s country representative Désiré Yaméogo highlighted the commitment of the Mauritanian government to school feeding programs. The event captured the attention of local media, which featured the celebration on television newscasts in Arabic and French.

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