The delegates of China Foundation for Rural Development (CFRD) Ethiopia Country Office,  Miss. Zhang Xiuzi, program Manager, and Mr. Tsegaab Demeke project officer, along with the representative of the Hailemariam & Roman Foundation(HRF)’s Youth & Women Economic Empowerment Program, visited South Omo Zone from December 13 to 14, 2023 for a two-day courtesy visit focused on the School Meal Program.

CFRD has undertaken international projects in less economically developed countries, notably Ethiopia, and has been one of HRF’s most trusted strategic partners supporting the School Meal Program for the last three years in selected five schools in Hamer & Bena Tsemay Woredas, and Turmi City Administration, South Omo Zone.

It is to be recalled that in the academic year 2023/24, the HRF and CFRD reached an agreement to continue SMP in the previous beneficiary school and also to incorporate other schools as part of the program in order to make 500 new students’ beneficiaries, increasing the total number of beneficiaries to 2500. To this end, preparatory work has been conducted from July to September 2023.

With the attendance of the Ethiopian Country Office delegate of CFRD, Miss. Zhang Xiuzi, program Manager, the 2023/2024 academic year school meal program was officially launched last week.  From December 13-14, 2023, Miss. Zhang Xiuzi and Mr. Tsegaab Demeke, along with HRF representatives and high-level local government officials, visited beneficiary schools, including newly incorporated ones.

In addition, a focus group discussion was held by CFRD teams with representatives from the community and students regarding the changes observed so far in the school meal program. In the discussion, the CFRD team learned that the SMP gave children energy for the remainder of the school day, motivated students to attend school, reduced food insecurity, improved academic performance, reduced school dropout rates, helped student families as well as the community to get relief, and provided job opportunities for unemployed mother parents.


Since the SMP is implementing in pastoralist areas, the importance of this program for students, teachers, families, and communities is evident.

Hailemariam & Roman Foundation

December 2023, South Omo Zone