There is a global consensus that education is indispensable and access to it is a human right. Unfortunately, numerous children and adults are denied this right for various reasons. In countries like Ghana and Kenya school attendance and participation don’t measure up to where they should be. These countries are struggling with famine and malnutrition, and school attendance and participation reflect their effects. Usually, these challenges have complex socio-economic backgrounds that require just as complex approaches to solve. But sometimes the solution can be incredibly simple and effective.
The Home Grown School Feeding initiative, a movement created by local governments in 2003, has proven to be one of these incredibly efficient simple solutions that improve lives. The movement aims to improve the lives of children from low-income families who often suffer from malnutrition. Through the programme, children receive free nourishing meals at school, on a daily basis; and these free meals have managed to do more than increase enrolment and attendance.
The initiative provides both educational and health benefits. It becomes an incentive for parents to send, and for children to attend, school. Children that don’t receive the food, vitamins and minerals their bodies need can suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. This can cause stunted growth, fatigue, and low cognitive performance. The lack of Vitamin B12, for example, can lead to memory loss. Thus giving students these daily meals also heightens learning capabilities and cognitive development.
Free-meal organisations always work hard to do their best to help, but external challenges persevere. There have been reports of food thefts and funds are always dangerously low. Despite these challenges, the initiative is still thriving and improving constantly.