Sunday Mail Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS should unite in fighting hunger in schools and ensure every learner acquires education regardless of social standing, the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, has said.
Speaking at the launch of the Harare Metropolitan Province school feeding scheme at Donnybrook Primary School in Mabvuku yesterday, Amai Mnangagwa called on businesses to join the scheme and help supplement food provision in schools.
She encouraged schools to secure land for farming so that they produce their own food and teach learners the same. “We have started the programme in urban areas and recently we were in Bulawayo,” she said.
“The programme is also continuing in rural areas but what I have realised is that regardless of location, it is a noble programme which unites people from all walks of life. The main aim of this programme is for our children to eat healthy and whole nutritious meals. The young ones are at a significant stage where their bodies are still growing and they require suitable feeding that enables growth. This programme aims to cover all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe and it is my wish to see all children in the country well fed and ready to learn.
“I also call upon business people to join this programme of feeding school children and urge schools to acquire land on which they will grow their food to supplement the programme.
“Poor nutrition compromises both the quality of life of school going pupils and their potential to benefit from education. When they go to school hungry their minds will be too strained to concentrate and this hinders efficient knowledge acquisition. Under nourishment also causes under developed growth and conditions such as kwashiorkor and this can be eradicated if we nourish them well. We want these children to succeed regardless of their background.”
Amai Mnangagwa urged communities to prioritise traditional foods, which are readily available and affordable.
“Maintaining a balanced diet is important for all children especially Early Childhood Development (ECD) children. These children are required to eat a variety of foods from different food components to ensure optimal intake of all vitamins and minerals. Let us incorporate our traditional foods in their diet as they are not only rich in nutrients but easily available at affordable prices.
“Foods such as dried vegetables with peanut butter, sadza remhunga, remapfunde, sweet potatoes and madora/macimbi are all better than a bottle of coca cola and biscuits.” Ten schools from Mabvuku and Tafara attended the launch and Amai Mnangagwa participated in the feeding of ECD pupils who attended the event.
Acting Harare Mayor Councillor Musarurwa Stewart Mutizwa, who donated a beast at the event, applauded the First lady for ensuring that every child in the country was embraced under programme.
“It is very good and positive to put a smile on someone else’s face and that is what the First Lady has done,” he said.
“What you have done is bringing a smile even on the less privileged.”
Provincial Education Director for Harare Metropolitan Province Mr Christopher Kateera applauded the First Lady for complementing Government efforts.
“We would like to thank the First Lady for launching such a noble programme in our schools,” he said.
“We have noticed that there is an increase of school attendance by learners and this has been attributed to the school feeding scheme.”
The First Lady also donated mealie meal, beans, cooking oil, dried vegetables and maheu to the 10 schools and food hampers to families that attended the event.