Viewpoints | Jun 05,2021
Women’s unions that organize food for public school children in Addis Abeba face a threat to their sustainability due to rapidly rising food prices in the city.
The Addis Abeba City Administration Cabinet responded last week by adding over half a billion Birr to the school feeding program budget, which now amounts 23 Br for a meal for more than half a million students. Of the 100 billion Br budget, the City’s Cabinet approved 2.2 billion Br for the school feeding program at the beginning of this year.
“It doesn’t include the cost of uniforms,” said Mebratu Gebre, budget director at Addis Abeba Finance Bureau.
The school feeding program is considered crucial for academic success, emotional health, and intelligence. However, merely adding more budget will not be sufficient to sustain the program in the long run, according to Messay Mulugeta, a food security expert at Addis Abeba University. He argued short-term budget adjustments are not a targeted response to market prices and urged city officials to establish a supply chain between farmers and unions to provide a more effective solution to the rising costs.
In September, the Federal Cooperative Commission initiated around 4,200 smallholder farmers in six weredas of the Oromia Special Zone to supply 30,000tns of wheat and teff. However, according to Shimekit Maru, program advisor at the Commission, the deal was not feasible since the women could not afford to buy the produce.
Teff is a staple food for most Ethiopians. It was sold for 6,000 Br a month ago, a retail price that hit a historical peak of 10,000 Br last week due to logistics disruption.
A World Bank research finds that hunger impacts school-aged children who use learning opportunities, likely reducing the returns on education investments. School feeding programs were designed to keep kids in school by increasing enrollment and lowering absenteeism. The school feeding program has benefited over 600,000 students in the capital and the newly formed Sheger city.
The program started after Takele Uma took the mayorship in 2019 and expanded to the Oromia Special Zone by the following year.
Misrak Dil Primary School is one of the 1,000 public schools in the capital under the school feeding program. The school has designated a cooking space where women from a union prepare various meals for a little over 1,000 students enrolled from kindergarten to the eighth grade.
According to Zenebech Seme, the human resource manager, the school feeding program has helped improve student performance and attendance. However, she has witnessed the struggles of the cooks to balance their allotted budget with the food they serve.
“I don’t know how they manage it,” she said.
Tadelech, 38, is one of the 17 individuals who have formed a union to prepare meals for Misrak Dil School students since the inception. There are 10,500 women employed under the school feeding scheme huddled under various unions. Each union member earns a monthly pay of 3,000 Br; Tadelech takes on side jobs cleaning houses and washing clothes to make ends meet after paying a monthly rent of 2,500 Br.
The biggest challenge for Tadelech is the scarcity of commodities at the consumer cooperatives. She runs out of essentials quickly.
Liyu Foods, a catering service that offers multiple dishes for ceremonies, costs between 450 Br for fasting and 750 Br for non-fasting meals per person. The company, in business for over 20 years, offers a minimum of 170 Br per dish for snacks. According to the manager, Workbezi Benti, inflation, particularly on food items, has pressured the business. Not having rental expenses is the only advantage that keeps her in business.
“It’s impossible to feed a person with this budget,” Workbezi told Fortune.
PUBLISHED ON [ VOL , NO ]
Viewpoints | Jun 05,2021
Radar | Jan 01,2022
Radar | Feb 12,2022
Fortune News | Dec 27,2018
Editorial | Aug 28,2021
Commentaries | Jun 26,2021
Radar | Dec 05,2018
Fortune News | May 04,2019
Radar | Dec 19,2018
Fortune News | Oct 03,2020
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Dec 9 , 2023
Making a paradigm shift seems elusive for those in the driving seat of Ethiopia's mon...
Dec 2 , 2023
The symphony of traffic noise in Addis Abeba is not just a sign of life, but a siren...
Nov 25 , 2023
Ethiopia's quest to develop a functioning capital market is a demanding yet not unach...
Nov 18 , 2023
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has made a fervent call for landlocked Ethiopia to ga...
I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. It is my go to source for information. I enjoy interacting with text messages and browsing t...
While doing laundry over the weekend, I began video chatting with a friend from overseas. Amid our lively conversation, I told him to give m...
Or see contact page