By Isabelleflore Wega in the Central African Republic


Prime Minister Felix Moloua serves some fortified soft porridge to taste what the children receive at Sainte Philomène School.

President Faustin Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic (CAR) has launched the National School Feeding Expansion Initiative, aiming to reach 400,000 children from the current 170,000 by 2027.


The Central African Republic is a member of the School Meals Coalition and continues to demonstrate commitment to scaling up school meals. The launch of the initiative took place at Sainte Philomène School located in Bimbo, south of the capital Bangui. Also present at the ceremony was Prime Minister Felix Moloua, as well as other senior government officials, development partners including UN Agencies, civil society organisations, the diplomatic community in CAR and the local community.


The launch marks government’s efforts to expand school meals coverage to reach 575 schools, up from the current level of 192, by 2027. In its school feeding programme, CAR is providing meals in schools and giving cash to poor families to support learning and improve communities’ food security as well as helping them meet their basic needs. Speaking at the launch, President Touadera said the government, with the support of various partners has moved a gear up in their efforts to advance school feeding in the country.


“Investing in school-based programmes creates an entry point towards building strong food systems to help us address hunger and malnutrition and grow our economy. Expanding the national school feeding programme demands stronger partnerships to further develop national technical capacities for the government to be able to fully implement the national programme. I am emphasizing these partnerships because they will enable us to pursue other opportunities such as building the capacities of smallholder farmers, particularly women farmers, to make sure they can produce diverse and nutritious foods and sustain supply in schools. In the process, the farmers will earn better income and continue improving their farming activities,” he said.

President Touadera said education and the wellbeing of children have always been a top priority for the government.

“Together with all our partners, we must break the intergenerational cycle of food insecurity and malnutrition through a multisectoral and multi-actor approach. Our national school feeding programme creates opportunities to integrate health, nutrition, and agriculture and to focus our actions on a community-based participatory approach for local communities for all people to benefit.”


The country aims to further improve its national school feeding programme to be based on locally grown food sourced from smallholder farmers and traders. Currently, 20,000 smallholder farmers are benefitting from capacity-building activities to produce food in compliance with the school meals quality standards.


As part of the school meals expansion initiative, the government, in partnership with WFP will launch a local purchasing pilot in select schools as a demonstration model. The initiative aims to boost local food production and consumption in the piloted areas, creating demand for more diverse and nutritious food while stimulating the local economy.


Dr. Housainou Taal, the WFP Country Director in CAR said the organisation is implementing a homegrown school feeding model in 44 schools, providing school meals to 13,000 children in 18 prefectures in the country, including Bangui, Mambéré, Mambéré-KadéÏ, Kemo.


“Our goal is to collaborate with other local partners in supporting the government to ensure we continue increasing school meals coverage until all children in the country can access nutritious food in school. This will go a long way in improving children’s health and quality of learning,” said Dr. Housainou Taal.