Improved Learning through better Health, Nutrition and Education for the School-Age Child.
Charles F. Mazinga, Deputy Director for the Department of School Health and Nutrition and HIV, Ministry of Education, Malawi explains how the
FRESH Framework helped Malawi SHN policy and programme makers understand the value of having a comprehensive school health and nutrition policy in place to address key challenges Malawi experienced in school health. The FRESH Framework helped Malawi SHN policy and programme makers understand the value of having a comprehensive school health and nutrition policy in place to address key challenges Malawi experienced in school health. It also highlighted the importance of policy and budget development to attract funding for SHN activities.
During the course, we started to develop our school health policy to fill the gaps in Malawi’s existing school health and nutrition strategy, and in 2013 the policy was institutionalised and validated. Its core objective was to increase the sustainability and number of SHN programmes being implemented. These programmes range from: school nutrition; HIV and AIDs prevention and management; gender equality; education in emergencies and water and sanitation hygiene (WASH). Today, the far-reaching policy has strengthened partnerships and coordination by bringing together numerous stakeholders at school and national levels, to contribute to integrated programmes, maximising the benefits felt to improve child health in Malawi. Malawi’s national SHN policy institutionalised the country’s school feeding programmes and attracted external funding to the interventions. The European Union granted €1.6 million to the programmes and other contributions have also been made from a number of public-private sector actors, including sugar company Illovo and local Malawi banks. In 2013, five interventions (school health, nutrition, HIV &AIDS, gender mainstreaming, education in emergencies) were also decentralized to the district level, with the policy and its budget allocation now in place, the programmes carried out at district level could now be sufficiently funded and sustained. All in all, the support and restructuring of the school feeding intervention has seen it expand from reaching an initial 9,078 children to over 1.6 million children!”