We know children learn best when they are not hungry or suffering from a nutrient deficient diet. Yet, thousands of our children still arrive at school each day on an empty stomach which compromises their ability to learn and achieve great results. It was with this in mind that former president Nelson Mandela called for a primary school nutrition programme to be introduced in 1994. Since that time, the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) has benefitted learners from the poorest schools across the country.
The objectives of the NSNP are:
- to contribute to enhanced learning capacity through school feeding programmes
to promote and support food production and improve food security in school communities
to strengthen nutrition education in schools and communities
Since the launch of the programme, nearly 17 years ago, considerable progress has been made and many lessons have also been learnt. Some of the most notable changes and successes have been a switch to a menu of daily hot, cooked meals, instead of a cold meal; school feeding programmes that target all learners in a school instead of targeting just the poorest learners in each school; and an expansion to secondary schools since 2009.
The strength of the programme has been good co-operation between the Department of Basic Education, Provincial Departments and District Offices and partners that show a high level of commitment towards the future of our learners.