Mali’s National Centre for School Canteens (CNCS) participated on the inaugural SHN Course held in Senegal in 2013. Zalia Maïga Touré, Director of the CNCS explains how lessons learnt encouraged the centre’s functioning such as improving financial procedures.
Strengthening Mali’s Funding Systems in School Feeding
During the course the Mali team had highlighted the need to strengthen our funding for school feeding and we consequently took a number of steps to do this. A course session taught us about the World Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results for School Feeding (SABER-SF) and during a break-out session we worked on the approach and presented our results to participants. This outlined a number of areas to improve the school feeding funding systems including: how funds should be allocated to canteens; the management and reporting on the use of funds; and a general need for awareness and capacity building of local authorities on these issues.
On returning from Senegal, the CNCS began the process of putting these outlined areas into action. In December 2013 the CNCS supported by Dutch development organisation, SNV and the Partnership for Child Development carried out inaugural trainings of local communities and financial services on the school feeding funding/supply cycle to enable a greater understanding on the financing of school feeding within communities. Here, official documents on strengthening collaboration between ministries of education and finance which had been previously limited were also shared.
Learning by seeing

During the course, the Mali team visited local schools where standards of good health and nutrition practices in schools were understood. Among field visit lessons the Mali team learnt about the nutritional value of foods delivered through school meals, the availability of health services and the state of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and practices. These visits were interactive allowing the team to speak with school stakeholders and assess the school’s SHN practices through a questionnaire provided to course participants.
On return to Mali, we were equipped with a better understanding on how to make school visits and local sensitizations on the programme more effective carried out a number of school canteen field visits run by development organisation, Millennium Villages Project in Mali’s Segou region in March 2014 where similar tools have been used to assess whether canteen standards are being met.