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First School Meals Served up in Madagascar

Published 02/28/2023 by Global Communities

By Chloe Pan

On February 6, 2023, Global Communities and its consortium of partners in Madagascar served the first school meals supported by Mianatra (“Learn” in Malagasy), a McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition (McGovern-Dole) project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). By the end of the week, a total of 12,277 meals were served in 18 schools.

In 2021, USDA awarded Global Communities with the first McGovern-Dole project in Madagascar. Mianatra, with implementing partners Catholic Relief Services and FHI 360, is providing support to the Government of Madagascar to improve literacy among school-age children and provide nutritious daily school meals in the chronically food insecure Androy region in the south of the country. Over the next five years, more than 64,000 preschool and primary school students will receive daily meals in 130 targeted schools.

“As one team, we are committed and dedicated to building the foundation for a better future for the children who need it most.”

Philippe LeMay, Chief of Party, Mianatra

Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries and approximately 97% of the population in the Androy region are living in poverty. Recent climatic shocks — particularly erratic rainfall and an increasing severity of recurring droughts — have also had a major impact on households, making financial recovery for agriculture-dependent regions difficult. In the face of these challenges, Mianatra is expanding the Ministry of Education’s efforts to address low school enrollment, malnutrition and food insecurity through sustainable literacy improvements and school feeding program ownership by the Government of Madagascar and school communities.

“Through the Mianatra project, public and private partners, communities and households are now mobilized to engage in resilient and sustainable activities to ensure that students in the region have access to better education, health, hygiene and nutrition,” said Philippe LeMay, Chief of Party for Mianatra. “As one team, we are committed and dedicated to building the foundation of a better future for the children who need it most. In the name of these children, I want to thank everyone, in-country and around the world, who are making this project a success.”

School feeding programs are about much more than just providing nutritious food to children, and these first meals are just the beginning for Mianatra in Androy. The project will help improve student literacy, nutrition and health while supporting the sustainable expansion of the Government of Madagascar’s school feeding program. 

*Lead image: Thomas Mukoya/Alamy stock photo