PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI ― On February 6, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister for International Development and La Francophonie, visited a Port-au-Prince school where students are benefitting from fortified meals thanks to a collaboration between the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) and the World Food Programme-Haiti (WFP-Haiti.)
On an official visit to Haiti, Minister Bibeau had an opportunity to meet with some of the 110,000 pre- and primary-school children who are receiving school lunches fortified with vitamins and minerals as part of the Micronutrients for Every Meal Initiative (MEMI).
This two-year initiative ― funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada ― aims to reduce anaemia levels among these children, helping them to perform better in school and, eventually, grow into healthier adults. In Haiti, 50% of children between the ages of three and five suffer from anaemia.
WFP provides school meals to a majority of school children in Haiti while supporting the government to establish a nationally-owned school meals program. To ensure children receive the essential micronutrients they need to be healthy, MI provides assistance to fortify the meals with a mix of vitamins and minerals that are sprinkled onto cooked semi-solid food such as rice or porridge, without changing its taste or colour. MI has partnered with the University of Montreal to evaluate the reduction of anemia among the children.
MEMI is currently being implemented in 420 pre- and primary-schools in the Ouest, Artibonite and Sud’Est Departments, with a goal of scaling it up to the whole country.
Since 2010, Canada has provided more than $1.3 billion in international assistance to Haiti, including some $250 million in humanitarian assistance and $1.05 billion in development support.