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School Feeding Project, SWOT Analysis Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1698

SWOT analysis

The causes of hunger often include: lack of economic opportunity; political disempowerment; income inequality; inadequate public social spending; discrimination based on age, race, and gender; as well as environmental degradation. The solutions often include: sustainable development, including expanded income-earning opportunities for poor people; democratic participation and community empowerment; government programs to assure that everyone meets their basic needs; environmental protection; demilitarization; and policies that promote gender equality, cultural pluralism and social inclusion. It can be argued that international trade and investment can help expand income-earning opportunities for hungry and poor people, but that in order to overcome hunger, governments and civil society need to work actively on other strategies too. Political empowerment of poor people is especially important. The issue of hunger and malnutrition is greatly extended to students in the school systems.  (USDA, 2014)

The problem with schools in regards to hunger is that malnutrition has been on the rise in Our School Lunch Program in primary students, while at the same time addressing the issues of declines in school attendance by providing an additional incentive for children to attend school. It should also be noted that feeding children in school will increase their ability to focus and to gain the most out of all other educational programs; therefore, this particular program has the power to render others more effective (Miller Del Rosso, 1999).

The project proposal will focus on how to prevent malnutrition in local communities as well as state school districts, by developing new techniques to farmers, and by helping them to produce more crops in the local communities to stop malnutrition, and support their local schools lunch programs. This project’s long term measures include fostering nutritionally dense agriculture by increasing yields, also ensuring aid to farmers by controlling time and cost in support of helping our local schools.

According to the World Food Program, the accountability and quality of school lunch programs fluctuate in correlations with national levels of income. In countries with low income levels, where the need for school feeding is the highest in regard of hunger and malnourishment, the coverage is the least. In some countries, the cost of feeding a student is greater than the cost of the education itself. (WFP, 2013)

Governments establish the framework within which national economies develop. It is up to governments to establish a stable political, legal and monetary context. Governments shape private sector development through regulations, taxes and subsidies. They provide physical infrastructure such as roads. Governments play a major role in education, health and social welfare. Governments also affect the level of national engagement in globalization. They influence the competitiveness of exports and the relative cost of imports by setting exchange rates. Governments decide how much to protect domestic industries from import com-petition. A government’s fiscal and monetary policies and the provision of physical infrastructure can help attract foreign investment. This project will greatly require Government reform in the school lunch programs due to state and federal policies regarding how students are provided with food. New farming strategies will be put in place that allows a certain amount of farmed foods to be allocated to school lunch programs. (Neuberger, 2013)

Globalization also means that domestic policy decisions can have major international implications and vice versa. The U.S. government’s decision to end the Farmer Owned Reserve — a farm program aimed at stabilizing domestic grain supply and prices — has exacerbated global food price volatility. Liberalized agricultural trade under the North American Free Trade Agreement has undermined livelihood security for both small grain farmers in Mexico and tomato growers in Florida who face competition from cheap imports. (WFP, 2013)

Despite rapid urbanization, agricultural activities still employ 60 percent of the work force in the developing world. Continued investment in agriculture is essential, not only to assure adequate food production for a growing population, but to provide adequate incomes for the majority of the populace. Globalization and commercialization have had mixed results for farmers and farm workers, as for others.  The United States is the world’s leading grain exporter, with family-run farms accounting for most of the crops. But family farmers increasingly produce on contract to large agribusiness companies, with the crop, seed variety and input package specified in advance. (USDA, 2014)

Agriculture is the sector of international trade that has the most direct effect on food security. It is the source of both food and livelihood for most poor people. It is essential to sustainable development. Agriculture accounts for a significant part of employment in developing countries and is the largest part of the economy in most poor countries. It is an important source of savings for investment throughout the economy. Developing country agriculture is heavily affected by global trade and agricultural trade rules.

Export zones are common in developing countries, and offer a mixed blessing. The jobs almost always represent gains for workers’ households and the factories can stimulate additional economic activity in such areas as supplies, services and marketing. But the zones encroach on land that could support more traditional sources of livelihood such as fishing and farming. They may force older manufacturing enterprises out of business, although they sometimes provide new business for local enterprises. The zones frequently harm the surrounding environment. Workers in export zones typically work long hours for modest pay under poor or even dangerous conditions. Governments often declare these zones off-limits to labor unions in order to attract investors. (Neuberger, 2013)

Hundreds of millions of children are part of the global work force, some of them as young as 5 or 6. Many work in the informal sector, in domestic service, at home, in the fields. Poverty is a key factor driving children into employment. Many child workers have unemployed or underemployed parents. They often do not have the chance to go to school.

Even when students get all the required calories and protein, they may still suffer from life-threatening conditions because they do not get enough vitamins and minerals. Iodine deficiency disorders, lack of vitamin A and iron-deficiency anemia, often referred to as “hidden hunger,” seriously undermine the health and productivity of poor people. Such “micronutrient” mal-nutrition claims up to 5 percent of national income in some developing countries due to disability and lost lives and productivity. (USDA, 2014)

International trade can be rough on poor people. They can least afford price fluctuations and cannot predict — or sometimes even understand — price changes in global markets. Poor farmers with labor intensive operations may be particularly vulnerable to lower income when more efficient production from developed countries or new technologies drives prices down. (Neuberger, 2013)

In this setting, one option is for developing countries to attempt to become self-sufficient in agricultural production, limiting their imports and setting up food reserves. Self-sufficiency means that farmers produce first and, if necessary, solely for local consumption. Advocates of a self-sufficient strategy, who emphasize the dangers of globalization for weaker states, often fail to recognize the benefits of a global economy. But at the other extreme, a strategy of producing almost solely for export is risky as well. Poor food-importing countries face fluctuating international market prices which they cannot affect or control. A better strategy is food self-reliance, in which countries boost yields, employing sustainable and efficient farming practices, and diversify their agricultural production, some for export and some for domestic consumption. Earnings from exports can help with increased imports when domestic production falls short. India, for example, has moved from a “basket case” dependent on massive external food aid in the 1960s to a net exporter of grain some years during the 1980s and 1990s. It has the potential to become a major rice exporter in the next decade. Expanded grain output in irrigated areas has boosted incomes enormously.

If developing country leaders fail to address inequities or corruption in their own societies, then no trade policy could possibly achieve food security for the students attending school. Developing country leaders must remove any vestiges of practices, such as state-run marketing boards or taxing agricultural exports that shortchange farmers. They must develop agricultural development programs that help farmers adjust to price and production fluctuations. For the long run, agricultural development must be sustainable. Producers must pay attention to soil and water conservation. Sustainable fishing practices are likewise essential. Finally, war obviously and dramatically impinges on food security. In Burundi and Rwanda, as cruel ethnic violence has eased, food production remains below pre-conflict levels, with a third of the respective populations needing food assistance. (WFP, 2013)

People in industrial countries can make trade more responsible by lobbying against laws, policies and practices that discriminate against developing-country exports and for aid programs that encourage sustainable development and food security that feeds the kids in our schools:

  • Basic research to improve productivity, especially for peasant and dryland farmers;
  • Development assistance to support dissemination of research results, especially that which enhances the role of women in marketing and profiting from their products and encourages sustainable agricultural practices; and
  • Technical assistance to developing countries to train local people to process agricultural products in ways to make them acceptable and safe for consumers, thereby encouraging higher value exports.

Grassroots support for responsible trade and sustainable agricultural development can encourage the world’s political leaders to act. People who raise their voices on behalf of those who are hungry can help increase food security within the school systems.

The nations where poverty rates and hunger have dropped the fastest over recent decades have nearly all increased their global trade over the same period. But not all trading nations have seen less hunger in their school systems as well as the general population. In some, the benefits of increased trade are not shared broadly. Governments should promote international trade —with safeguards for labor rights, the environment and food security. Other policies also matter — fiscal and monetary policies; taxes; public investment, especially in human resources; rights for disadvantaged groups. To help ensure the best combination of policies for nations and in international trade agreements, and to ensure broad ownership, all parties must participate in making the decisions, particularly poor people.

References

Neuberger, Z. (2013, October 13). Community Eligibility: Making High-Poverty Schools Hunger Free. Retrieved from Budget and Policy Priorities: http://www.cbpp.org/research/community-eligibility-making-high-poverty-schools-hunger-free

USDA. (2014, June 13). Fact Sheet: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act School Meals Implementation. Retrieved from http://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2014/009814

WFP. (2013). State School Feeding Worldwide. Retrieved from WFP: http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/communications/wfp257482.pdf

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