School Feeding Leads to Better Academic Performance in Ruvuma Region

Speeches Shim

Monday, December 28, 2020
Pre-primary pupils at Ndelenyuma Primary School receive porridge after the morning session.

Before implementation of USAID’s Tusome Pamoja (“Let’s Read Together”) activity, the overall academic performance of first and second grade students at Ndelenyuma Primary School in Tanzania’s southern Ruvuma region was not good. Student absenteeism was low, affecting the entire school during national examinations. Pupils’ attendance was especially poor for those who lived far away from the school. After lunch break, many students would not come back to school for the afternoon session, or sometimes would come late.

“USAID Tusome Pamoja assisted us in creating a good relationship between the school and the community of Mkongotema Village by forming a strong and sustainable Parent-Teacher Partnership. Community Education Mobilizers and the School Committee also helped improve the relationship. We managed to mobilize and engage the community to support early grade reading,” says Head Teacher Mbilinyi.

Parent-Teacher Partnership members and Community Education Mobilizers discussed the school's attendance challenges with the other parents and community members. The community came up with a strategy for each family to contribute food to the school by providing all first and second grade pupils with a warm meal at lunchtime. The idea was that this meal would give students enough time to participate and concentrate on their studies, which would lead to improved academic performance.

Once the school started providing students with meals, teachers started seeing improvements in pupils' academic performance. “Their attendance has greatly improved, and I can see a good future for our school community,” says Mrs. Mbilinyi. “School feeding is a good platform for us, and we will continue to collaborate with the community to make sure there is enough food available for our pupils throughout the year so that we can proceed to add value to the academic performance here. I thank USAID Tusome Pamoja for their support. I believe school feeding is one of the best tools for future development,.”