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North Bank Region celebrates Africa School Meals Day

Mar 29, 2016, 12:16 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahaman Sallah

The Deputy Governor of North Bank Region, Mustapha Saidy, has underscored the commitment of government to enhancing community participation, assurance and ownership to the school meals programme, notably the home-grown school feeding programme.

He was speaking recently in Kerewan in observance of Africa School Meals Day” on the theme: “Fresh and healthy local foods”.

The day is set aside to be observed on 1st March by the African Union to reflect on the achievements and challenges realised on the attainment of school-feeding programme.

He thanked the World Food Programme (WFP) for their invaluable support to government in providing school meals to school children over the years.

He used the moment to call on the farming population to increase food production to sustain school-feeding programme.

The acting-Regional Education Director for Region 3, Paul Mendy, in his remarks on the occasion, said: “School meals contribute safety net, and ensure every child has access to education, health and nutrition.

He lauded the WFP in complementing the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) in providing nutritious food and by extension contributes to an increase and retention of children at Lower Basic schools.

The acting education director said the MoBSE and the WFP initiative of commemorating the African School Meals Day on the theme: “Fresh and healthy local foods” would contribute to strengthening the concept of home-grown school-feeding programme in the region.

He said “Home-grown school meals aim to empower farmer organizations to provide locally produced food and expand market and economic opportunities by building direct links between school’s demand for fresh and local products.

Regional agricultural directorate’s officer Omar Mendy, in his remarks, said the theme “reflects the importance of fresh and healthy food in human and growth development of children”.

He attaches great importance to the department of agriculture in strengthening relationship with the WFP and MDG1c project.

Alpha Khan, Vice Chairperson of Area Council, assures of the council’s support and cooperation.

He said fresh and local foods are provided to the children to promote local taste and eating habit in schools and households.

“It promotes agricultural development and expands market and economic opportunities by building direct links between school demand for fresh and local products, and supply from smallholder farmers at local or national levels,” he said.

“Prior to the day a radio panel discussion was held at North Bank community radio station to raise public awareness on the significance of school meals and the discussion centred on School Meals in Education, the importance of health in school meals, the importance of agriculture in school meals local procurement and the importance of community participation and contribution in sustaining school meals programme.”

Concluding he said: “Home Grown School Meals programme is a drive for African’s Sustainable Development and agricultural development in particular.”