In 2002 Zimbabwe experienced an acute drought, after which, local clinics reported a sharply increased number of cases of children suffering from malnutrition and associated illnesses. At the same time, schools recorded a steep drop in school attendance. Malnourished children appeared not to have the strength or the will to attend school and their parents, forced to focus on matters of survival, were unable to intervene. Studies have shown that poor nutrition in children has a negative impact on cognitive development, which can have long-term consequences for these children and their communities.
The Child Supplementary Feeding Programme was created to address this real and urgent need. Singita Pamushana through its development and conservation partner, The Malilangwe Trust, heeded the government’s call for assistance and initiated an extensive supplementary feeding programme. Since its inception, the programme has provided additional food and nourishment to thousands of children in the local communities. Daily, 19,000 children (mostly aged 5 years and younger) are provided with a nutrient rich soya-corn blend. The ingredients are delivered to 436 feeding points which are managed by volunteers appointed by the local communities to oversee this core village activity. In doing so, the programme not only provides much needed nutrition, but by extension, an important and fundamental human right – the opportunity to realise one’s educational and developmental potential.