Mary’s Meals International (MMI)
The Mary’s Meals school feeding program is currently running in Harare and Mashonaland East province. The feeding program is providing a nutritious Corn-Soya Blend porridge to every school child within the two mentioned provinces. The two provinces were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with many caregivers being succumbed by poverty which has been induced by susceptible to unreliable rainfall and huge percentage of these caregivers are not formally employed hence the lockdown restrictions affected their income generating activities
After witnessing exhausted and hungry children falling asleep in class, through the generous support from the Mary’s Meals International, Mavambo Orphan Care launched a permanent school feeding programme in Harare and Mash East.
The school feeding piloted on the 26th of October and begun feeding Grade 6 and Grade 7 children at 3 schools that is Tafara 5 Council School (720 children), Tsinhirano Primary School (448 children), Chinamano Primary School (525 children), and all children enrolled at 2 non-formal study centres i.e., Mabvuku Learning Centre and Caledonia Out of School Study Group.
On the 9th of November 2020 schools were fully operational, feeding of all the remaining grades at the schools, Tafara 5 Council School 2,160 children (1032M;1128F), Chinamano 1,888Children (899M;989F) and Tsinhirano 1,935 children (939M;996F). The schools feeding which started in 3rd term in 2020 had a total of 8 schools 6 formal and 2 non formal and reached over 13 000 learners
The project’s first expansion was done in 2021, 12 primary schools were added to the already 8 feeding schools giving in total 20 Primary schools. With the first expansion, over 24,000 learners were reached with a hot meal in their place of education.
The program is currently working on the second expansion where 22 schools will be added in 2nd term of 2021 to the already 20 feeding schools to make them 42 schools. Expansions will be in Goromonzi (Mashonaland East Province) looking forward to reach over 24,000 learners which will bring a total of +/_ 48,000 learners being reached by this schools feeding program.
Trained volunteers (Child Care Workers and Health Promoters) are overseers of the meal preparation and dishing, which take place in every school with clear hygiene procedures in place.
School feeding is an essential tool for development which Zimbabwe considers as an investment in a special context, other than merely attracting learners to school
Acting school head at Chinamano Primary School in Epworth Caroline Tuluka, emphasised the importance of nutrition in children as it will yield fruits when they are matured citizens.
“We need to bear in mind that failure to invest nutrition particularly for children, would retard the development of our country’s socio-economic terms,” she said.