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The gains of the WFP school-feeding programme

Mar 5, 2015, 9:48 AM

The World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education is today observing World or International School Meals Day, as part of WFP’s world school-feeding programme.

This year the World Meals Day, which is also being observed in The Gambia, with a Luncheon Sale segment of the event at the GOVI Centre in Kanifing, has its theme as “Celebrating Culture through Food”.

The occasion is dedicated to serving Special Needs Schools benefiting from the School Feeding Programme. And there will be a display of different kinds of foods representing diverse cultures within and outside The Gambia.

The International School Meals Day is expected to create better understanding of what the school-feeding programme encompasses.

With its multi-sectoral intervention, the programme also has the ultimate goal of contributing to increasing enrolment and retention.

The Gambia school feeding programme will be benefiting from a commitment of a sum total of US$7 million to support school meals in Lower River Region and West Coast Region, to ensure daily meals to the increasing number of schoolchildren across the country, according to the WFP representative in The Gambia.

Whilst the programme is out to promote equal access to education and learning by boosting enrolment, retention and completion rates, as well as increase concentration and better performance of children, it is also strategically being planned to not only provide food for schoolchildren, but also to put in place a permanent mechanism for ever-lasting provision of food to schools.

It is as well planned to promote homegrown food and local farming, and create a market for the food produce of local farmers, to give them the opportunity to generate more income from their labour and let them eat the sweat of their brow.

Furthermore, the WFP country representative has said preparation is being made for government to take over the implementation of the school-feeding programme, which should make it a homegrown school-feeding endeavour.

For this challenge, the participation of smallholder farmers in the implementation of the programme is considered inseparable, so that instead of importing food commodities for schoolchildren, locally-grown food would be used to feed them, which would also generate income for local farmers.

It is all a win-win situation.

“Poverty is a very complicated issue, but feeding a child isn’t..”

Jeff Bridges