Annual Report 2017 – More Than Just A Meal

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PCI creates healthier environments at school and home

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There’s an African proverb that says, “Even a big tree starts off as a small seedling.” Few PCI initiatives capture this truth more than our McGovern-Dole International Food for Education (FFE) partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What might look like simple plates of food are actually feeding the potential of students, families and entire communities across three countries.
With support from USDA, PCI serves more than 220,000 school meals a day in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Tanzania. That adds up to 4.4 million meals a month.
And while good nutrition and full stomachs are crucial for children to learn and grow, these programs are designed to have a deeper impact than just promoting healthy diets.
In addition to increasing school attendance rates, FFE programs train teachers in literacy instruction and help establish and strengthen parent-teacher associations to foster community involvement. They also form partnerships with local farmers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables, which helps boost the local economy and create a thriving market. Other focus areas include increasing access to clean water and sanitation facilities, providing menstrual hygiene for older girls to stay in school, and planting school gardens.
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Take Edwin, for example. After learning how to grow healthy crops at his school in Guatemala, the 13-year-old started a garden at home. With profits from his first harvest, Edwin bought food for his family and helped pay the school fees of his younger siblings.
Another success sits in the heart of Taleno—a small, rural town on Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast. PCI empowered parents there to build a schoolhouse for children in the community who did not have a consistent place to learn. They also formed a school feeding committee, constructed two latrines, built a kitchen and cafeteria, and dug a well to provide the school with water.
“PCI awakened us,” said Juana Geleno, a local mother of two schoolchildren. “They encouraged us and made us realize that we were able to change our situation.”
PCI works with local government officials, community leaders and parents to set goals, create transition plans and ultimately “graduate” programs to self-sufficiency.
That is what happened in Bolivia. Even though our program ended there in 2013, the 49 municipalities in which PCI implemented programs continue to provide daily meals to more than 110,000 children—all with local resources.
“Our job is to put ourselves out of business,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President & CEO of PCI. “When we embrace communities and involve them in the development of programs from the start, that happens.”
NOTABLE NUMBERS

  • In Tanzania, school gardens generated 27 metric tons of food to contribute to school meals in just 9 months. Local parents donated an additional 12 metric tons of food.
  • In Nicaragua, the Ministry of Education covers 100% of food transportation costs and provides 14% of the food for meals in FFE schools.
  • In Guatemala, two municipal governments have incorporated funding for school meals into their budgets.

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