Maputo — Mozambique's Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) signed in Maputo a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the National School Meal Programme (PRONAE).
The program is part of an initiative under which the Russian government will convert part of Mozambique's debt into development projects.
Budgeted at 40 million US dollars, the programme will run over the course of the next five years.
Signing the memorandum, MEF Permanent Secretary Domingos Lambo said that the program is aligned with the development strategy aimed at boosting agricultural production, productivity, education, health and social protection for the vulnerable population.
"This memorandum responds to the priorities defined in the Government's Five Year Program for the implementation of school meal programmes across the country," Lambo said.
For his part, the Russian ambassador to Mozambique, Andrey Kemarsky, praised the efforts of both governments to improve students' nutritional health and assured that his country will continue to support the education sector in Mozambique.
WFP representative Karin Manente said that the Memorandum is the culmination of talks started in 2015 between the governments of Russia, Mozambique and WFP.
"The WFP will continue to work to materialize its desire to see improved of student enrolment rates in schools, their retention and better passing rates," said Manente.
For her turn, the National Director of Nutrition and School Health at the Ministry of Education and Human Development, Arlinda Chaquisse, explained that the memorandum falls within the initiatives for social protection, seeking to promote inclusive social development.
According to Chaquisse, cited in a press release received on Tuesday by AIM, the gesture of the Russian government is one of the best initiatives to improve food security and the level of learning for most vulnerable children.
PRONAE is based on local purchases of food products and supported by three pillars, namely improving the nutritional status and health of students; food and nutrition education in schools; development of skills for agro-livestock production.
The program also provides for the gradual coverage of all pre-primary and primary schools, with emphasis on community participation and nutritional education.