The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have sealed a partnership to further advance WFP’s homegrown school feeding and smallholder farmer support programmes in Rwanda and Uganda.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation has committed a US$4.1 million grant to improve health, nutrition, food security and incomes for marginalized and vulnerable smallholder farming communities.
The objective is to build the resilience and functionality of food systems in the most food insecure regions of both countries.
Eastern Africa has been heavily impacted by the global food crisis where the devastating effects of conflict, extreme weather and economic and political crises have been exacerbated by rising prices of food, energy and fertilizer caused in part by the conflict in Ukraine. Food systems are at breaking point in the region and more than 82 million people need humanitarian assistance – up from 58 million in November 2021.
“Creating resilient food systems is central to WFP’s work across Eastern Africa – from emergency relief to building sustainable livelihoods,” said Michael Dunford, WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa. “This exciting new partnership with the Novo Nordisk Foundation will leverage WFP’s existing homegrown school feeding and smallholder farmer support programmes to create even greater impact by further investing in children’s education while building efficient food systems to ensure food is available and affordable for all.”
WFP’s homegrown school feeding programme purchases food from local farmers, boosting local economies, while providing schoolchildren with a much-needed healthy meal. In 2021, WFP supported more than four million school children in Eastern Africa with daily nutritious meals – increasing student enrolment and retention rates as well as improving childhood nutrition.
With the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, WFP will work with smallholder farmers to improve food systems by reducing dependency on imported fertilizers, eliminating post-harvest losses, strengthening market linkages, and increasing agricultural production.
The grant will support 23,195 smallholder farmers in Rwanda and 15,000 in Uganda. The production from these farmers will go directly to WFP’s school feeding programme, with 107,000 children in Rwanda and 165,000 children in Uganda benefiting from daily locally grown, nutritious meals.
“We are pleased to partner with the World Food Programme and contribute to advancing its existing programmes in Rwanda and Uganda, where millions of people fail to thrive due to the global food crisis. The fact that the programmes focus on offering immediate support, and also work to build sustainable food systems for the longer term, is very well aligned with how we work at the Novo Nordisk Foundation,“ said Flemming Konradsen, Senior Vice President, Social and Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation. “I’m particularly excited about the prospect of bringing nutritious meals to thousands of school-aged children, since we know that this is a good incentive for them to come to school, which forms a foundation for a bright future and a better quality of life.”
The partnership between the Novo Nordisk Foundation and WFP will be implemented over an 18-month period and will be channeled through WFP’s regional and country-level teams which have the global, regional, and local expertise required to deliver high-quality homegrown school feeding and smallholder farmer interventions.