WFP hands over garden materials to MoBSE

Thursday, November 02, 2017

World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday handed over garden materials to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) at a ceremony held at their Annex in Kanifing.

The homegrown school Meals Programme has received funds from the People’s Republic of Japan, which allocated US$60,000 to be used for school meals.

In addition to providing daily lunches for school children, these funds would also provide 86 schools in the URR with garden tools and training on best practices.

The garden materials provided through this intervention laid the framework for a successful school garden and the training which builds upon the knowledge of the stakeholders by introducing proven techniques to improve the production of vegetable crops.

66 of these schools do not have permanent or secure fencing; as such, fencing input would be provided to those identified schools.

The training and distribution of garden materials would strengthen school gardens which would consequently improve dietary diversity and contribute to better nutrition for school children.

Representative of WFP, Angela Cespedes, who gave an overview and objective of the ceremony, said that the garden would also serve as a learning platform where children could acquire life skills.

The school garden, she said, is a learning space that not only allows teachers to engage their students in a variety of subjects but serves as a model for garden knowledge and skills to be shared within the community.

“At the WFP, we recognize that providing school children with daily hot meals is more impactful when accompanied by capacity strengthening through training and knowledge sharing,” she stated.

 In partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and with the support of Peace Corps, all of the 86 schools would benefit from a well-structured training package including an easy-to-use garden manual in preparation for the upcoming gardening season.

WFP’s ultimate objective is to support the government establish country led, owned and sustainable school meals programme/safety net that draws support from all sectors including communities, civil society organizations and the private sector in order to improve the lives of generations of Gambian children.

According to her, The Gambia Government has created a strong multi-sectoral partnership for the schools through its key sector- education, health and agriculture.

The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Omar Jallow, said that gardening should not be only seen as food for people of the school.

“Garden in school is a necessity, it teaches school children life skills. It encourages children to provide skills in learning and establish a great knowledge about agriculture and gardening,” he said.

Author: Fatou Dem