Novo Nordisk Foundation supports WFP’s school feeding program in Rwanda, Uganda with US$4m

EAST AFRICA – The Novo Nordisk Foundation, an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests, has issued a US$4.1 million grand to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), to support its homegrown school feeding and smallholder farmer in Rwanda and Uganda.

WFP’s homegrown school feeding programme purchases food from local farmers, boosting local economies while providing schoolchildren with a much-needed healthy meal.

The grant aims to build the resilience and functionality of food systems in the most food-insecure regions of both countries, resulting in improved health, nutrition, food security and incomes for marginalized and vulnerable smallholder farming communities.

“Creating resilient food systems is central to WFP’s work across Eastern Africa – from emergency relief to building sustainable livelihoods.

“This exciting new partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation will leverage WFP’s existing homegrown school feeding and smallholder farmer support programmes to create an even greater impact by further investing in children’s education while building efficient food systems to ensure food is available and affordable for all,” says Michael Dunford, WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

Under the partnership, set to run over an 18-month period, WFP will work with smallholder farmers to improve food systems by reducing dependency on imported fertilizers, eliminating post-harvest losses, strengthening market linkages, and increasing agricultural production.

The grant will support 23,195 smallholder farmers in Rwanda and 15,000 in Uganda, with production from these farmers going directly to WFP’s school feeding programme, with 107,000 children in Rwanda and 165,000 children in Uganda benefiting from daily locally grown nutritious meals.

In 2021, the humanitarian organization supported more than four million school children in Eastern Africa with daily nutritious meals – increasing student enrolment and retention rates as well as improving childhood nutrition. 

“We are pleased to partner with the World Food Programme and contribute to advancing its existing programmes in Rwanda and Uganda, where millions of people fail to thrive due to the global food crisis.

“The fact that the programmes focus on offering immediate support, and also work to build sustainable food systems for the longer term, is very well aligned with how we work at the Novo Nordisk Foundation,” says Flemming Konradsen, Senior Vice President, Social & Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“I’m particularly excited about the prospect of bringing nutritious meals to thousands of school-aged children since we know that this is a good incentive for them to come to school, which forms a foundation for a bright future and a better quality of life,” Flemming Konradsen says. 

Eastern Africa has been heavily impacted by the global food crisis where the devastating effects of conflict, extreme weather, and economic and political crises have been exacerbated by rising prices of food, energy, and fertilizer caused in part by the conflict in Ukraine.

Food systems are at breaking point in the region and more than 82 million people need humanitarian assistance – up from 58 million in November 2021.

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