Aug 6, 2012, 12:07 PM
In her remarks, the WFP country representative, Victoria Ginja, saidtwo years agothey launched the project establishing the foundation for a nationally-owned sustainable school feeding programme for a home-grown school feeding programme.
According to her, since the inception of this school feeding approach, they are proud to share their achievements reached as a team.
The project was geared toward implementation of several activities that they would be jointly analyzing from various angles, Ms Ginja said.
According to her, while consolidating and improving on gains achieved in access to education through school feeding, the project also aims at strengthening the institutional and policy framework by providing guidance on school feeding implementation and the management local procurement and supply chain management, logistics, monitoring and evaluation, community engagement, among other aspects.
She further stated that in terms of institution strengthening it was gratifying to note the significant achievement made through the placement of WFP staff in five regions of The Gambia; to work hand in hand with the education directorates as they work toward a gradual sustained hand-over.
Ms Ginja revealed that this year, for the first time in the history of school feeding programme in The Gambia, locally-cultivated rice was purchased for the school feeding programme as part of the pilot local procurement initiative.
This was achieved through support from the EU and collaboration between the government and UN agencies, particularly FAO, she stated.
She noted that these was being extended to the West Coast Region and Lower River Region, and that through the support by the government, they are jointly coordinating and monitoring the harvest process, so that adequate amounts of millet and rice and other local commodities would be purchased to feed the children in school.
It was important to note that while school feeding has over the year been driven primarily by external support, this trend is now changing, she went on.
The ministry has initiated the formulation of The Gambia’s first-ever school feeding policy, she said, adding that WF, MoBSE and key partners have been working on a national communication strategy and a community engagement plan, which address the communication gap, especially at regional and community level.