The National Director of School Feeding in Burundi


Students enjoy their lunch meal at Ecofo Gatovu school, Muyinga province in Burundi. Photo: Fredrik Lerneryd/WFP

Taking center stage to lead the 9th Africa Day of School Feeding (ADSF), the Government of the Republic of Burundi is excited to showcase the impact of their school meal programmes on the lives of children and local communities who are actively supporting the activity.


The Government of Burundi has identified school feeding as the largest social safety net for vulnerable children in the country.


Currently, more than 660,000 children are benefiting from the national school meals programme in the country. The government is committed to achieving universal access to education and is seeking to reach 2.8 million school-age children across the country by 2032. This commitment is reflected in the government’s financial contribution which in 2023 increased from USD 2.2 million to USD 4.2 million per school year. The Africa Day of School Feeding commemoration will be an opportunity to mobilize additional support and funds for the implementation of the national school feeding programme.


Burundi’s commitment to expand coverage is the vision of President of the Republic, H.E. Évariste Ndayishimiye: “Let every mouth have food and every pocket have money.”


A member of the Global School Meals Coalition since 2021, Burundi’s membership is contingent on the submission of a national commitment based on a clear roadmap, and nationally developed plan to increase coverage and create sustainable value chains where market access for local communities and smallholder farmers is possible.


The school feeding programme has already demonstrated positive impacts, confirming findings by the Harvard University research, which showed that schools with canteens in Burundi have a 5.1 percent higher success rate and a 3.6 percent lower drop-out rate. The study also highlighted the role of school meals in social protection, helping to reduce the budget costs of vulnerable households by an estimated 7 percent.


Commenting on the findings the Minister of Education, Professor Francois Hakizimana said: “The school feeding programme also motivates families to enroll and keep their children in school year-round, where they benefit from safe, diversified, and nutritious food and learning.”


According to the Harvard University study, an injection of USD 3.6 million from local purchases in 2023 impacted the economy of Burundi, improving the standard of living for smallholder farmers.


On her part, the First Lady of Burundi and “Godmother of school canteens,” H.E. Angeline Ndayishimiye, is a strong advocate of South-South Cooperation which promotes an exchange between other African countries in terms of technical assistance and sharing of best practices among others. She has led two ministerial fact-finding visits to Benin and Senegal where those countries have advanced development of sustainable homegrown school feeding models promoting the local agriculture and food systems.


The celebration of the 9th Edition of the Africa School Feeding Day, organized by the African Union in partnership with the Government of Burundi, will be a rallying point, bringing together actors from the public, private, civil society, and multilateral sectors, to galvanize political support for the adoption and implementation of school feeding programmes not only in Burundi but continent wide.