Upon reaching Chitenderano Primary School in Makoni District one can wonder if the school is deserted. The silence is just too much. Then the school bell rings and abruptly the school is lively with young children running out of their classrooms. With joyous screams, the pupils run towards the school kitchen and put themselves in anticipating queues with little or no supervision and smiles that are from ear to ear.
Chitenderano Primary School is one of the Primary schools in Makoni District in the Manicaland Province that is benefitting from the support provided by ActionAid Zimbabwe (AAZ) on curbing hunger following the El-Nino induced drought that hit the country in 2016. The communities are yet to recover from the El-Nino effects. AAZ is supporting the Makoni community and Buhera District by providing 10 schools with the Corn Soya Blend (CSP) porridge to improve nutrition levels for children.
The school head at Chitenderano Primary School, Mary Mujati explains how the programme has positively impacted the school:
The Corn Soya Blend came at the right time. Young children like porridge especially during the day. We are so grateful to ActionAid for assisting our school and the pupils are very happy, she said.
The school which has an enrolment of 906 pupils from Early Childhood Education (ECD) to grade seven, feeds more than 900 pupils every week and has seen fewer and fewer pupils absenting themselves from school.
“The provision of the porridge means pupils who used to skip school because of hunger now have no reason to miss school. If a child has a healthy mind it means they can participate fully without divided attention,” said the school head.
Ashely Mandizera (9) and Lindsay Rambanepasi (9) who are both in grade three expressed how they are enjoying the porridge.
“The porridge is delicious and we love it,” said Ashely.
Chitenderano Primary School is one of the 10 primary schools, six in Buhera and four in Makoni, provided with the porridge in a bid to improve nutrition levels for children. A total of 5105 pupils,3182 in Buhera and 1923 in Makoni from the 10 schools are being assisted. Each school has received 100 bags of the CSB and the schools keep a stock control card for accountability and transparent purposes.
The school feeding programme commenced in September 2017 and will last until the first term of 2018 which ends in April for both Makoni and Buhera Districts.