During a conference call with the World Food Program USA, over the phone from Kenya, Fatuma Mohamed credited the school meals program with helping to get her where she is today. Fatuma is a senior programme assistant with the World Food Programme in Dadaab, Kenya with a university degree. Not the outcome that would normally have been predicted for the Somalian daughter of a financially struggling widow growing up in Kenya’s northeastern province. At that time, the Somali community did not even believe in allowing girls to go to school.
Her mother had little money and faced hostility from their family because she refused to be inherited as Fatuma’s father’s brother’s wife. Although her mother had no formal education herself, she knew how important an education would be to her children.
Not only did sending her children to school provide the education that enabled Fatuma to avoid her destiny to drop out of school to tend cattle, but through the World Food Program Fatuma and her siblings were provided a school meal each day. For some children living in poverty, that school meal provided may be their ONLY meal of the day.
In the developing world, 66 million kids come to school hungry each day. many children don’t attend school at all. Poverty and tradition often exclude girls from education.
In Nairobi, Kenya, less than half of school-age children attend formal schools, due to poverty, safety and girls being unfairly excluded from school.
Malnutrition at an early age leads to reduced physical and mental development. Hungry kids in school focus on their empty stomachs, not their studies.
School meals can be life-changing for the world’s poorest children. School meals also help to get students into the classroom, giving them an important key to a better future—an education.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals to more than 24 million children each year. School feeding also gives poor families an incentive to send children to school, especially girls.
25 cents provides a child with a nutritious meal, $50 provides school lunch for a child for an entire year.
From October 14th to october 18th The World Food Program USA Invites you to take part in The Lunch Money Challenge.
Research tells us that nearly $2,000.00 a year is spent on average to eat lunch out at work by the two-thirds of Americans who do. If a person brought their lunch and donated the money they otherwise would have spent to buy it, then donated that money to the World Food Program USA‘s Lunch Money Challenge this week, they could feed a hungry school child for a year.
WFPUSA works with countries interested in owning and managing their school meals programs, to make them strong and sustainable. Helping communities become self sufficient is one of the ways that WFPUSA is solving hunger worldwide, by working with local governments, schools and farmers to build programs that are long lasting sustainable and cost-effective and when the WFPUSA work is done, local governments can take over and manage these programs. Home-grown school meals from local family farmers lift up the entire community—local ingredients mean both local children and local farmers can thrive. When school meal programs are linked with local family farmers, kids receive home-grown school meals. Not only do home-grown school meals programs improve child nutrition, they also boost local economies.
These days Fatuma encourages the girls she works with in the program to stay in school. When girls stay in school they tend to marry at an older age, have fewer children, and increase their earning potential. Fatuma’s relationship with the World Food Program goes back to when she was just 7 years old and she serves as a great example of the programs ability to transform lives.
“Women are the foundation of every society and girls grow into women and need to be supported. Nothing can move forward in the world without women, mothers, and girls.”-Fatuma Mohamed
World Food Program USA (WFP USA) works to solve global hunger by supporting the work of the united nations World Food programme (WFP) through fundraising, advocacy and education in the united nations. WFP works in over 75 countries, saving lives in emergencies, providing school meals to hungry children, improving nutrition of the most vulner- able people at critical times in their lives and helping build the self-reliance of people and communities.
*This sponsored post is part of a campaign with The Mission List and the World Food Program USA. All opinions are my own. Facts from the WFPUSA.