Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) Limited has signed a $40 971 (about K29 million) with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to boost the school feeding programme in Lilongwe.
With the grant, Fisd plans to construct a solar irrigation system and a kitchen at Machentche Primary School in Lilongwe.
Fisd board chairperson Kondwani Nanchukwa said in an interview on Tuesday in Lilongwe that with this approach, the programme will run for years without donor support.
“The idea is to make sure that after the initial financing of the project, the school together with the surrounding community are able to sustain the feeding of the learners on their own,” he said.
Fisd, which specialises in nutrition, irrigation and water development, has designed a new approach where the feeding programme will be co-managed by a committee from the surrounding community.
The community will be growing commercial crops using irrigation technology and after harvest, the crops will be sold and the proceeds used to buy food for the school feeding programme.
On her part, Japanese Ambassador Kae Yanagisawa said the grant has been given under the Grant Assistance for the Grassroots Security Projects.
She said the project requires clear market linkages and business oriented mindset.
Yanagisawa acknowledged that the situation at the school is the same as in other schools.
“Due to lack of financial resources, I understand that most learners are forced to be absent from school and this negatively affects their performance,” she said.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology deputy director for school health nutrition Virginia Kachigunda thanked Fisd for the intervention, which she said will help to improve performance of learners. n