By Foday Moriba Conteh
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) recently welcomed a contribution of JPN 250 million(US$ 2.3 million) from the Government of Japan to support primary school children in Kambia and Pujehun districts of Sierra Leone.
The contribution is part of Japan’s commitment to support the Government of Sierra Leone and WFP advance the school feeding component of the free quality education programme initiated by H.E. President Julius Maada Bio.
“Education is the bedrock of Sierra Leone’s future prosperity and we are happy to team up with Japan to support the Government to cement this through school feeding,” said Housainou Taal, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone. “We are grateful to the people of Japan for their long-standing contributions to education for the last decade.”
WFP will provide daily hot meals to more than 42,000 school children attending grades 1-6 in 139 Government-assisted primary schools in Kambia and Pujehun districts. This would support efforts to increase enrolment and improve attendance.
This contribution from Japan will, in part, allow for the purchase of rice from local farmers that will pave the way for Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF). This means that the food for the school meals is sourced from smallholder farmers within the community, thus providing a sustainable market for small holder farmers and improving the local economy.
“This is what partnerships are about – strengthening systems to promote sustainable development. Through school feeding, we are committed to building human capital to improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans in the long term,” said Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. “We are grateful for the resources from Japan which is a means to drive the agenda of the Government,” he added.
Part of this contribution will also go towards strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education at the national and district levels for future hand over of school feeding implementation and management.
The Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. Mr. HIMENO Tsutomu, expressed his joy on behalf of the people and Government of Japan to support this programme, saying that ,“the promotion of agriculture and food security initiatives is one of the priority areas of Japan to support human security for the people of Sierra Leone” and “this contribution is an important reflection of the friendship and cooperation between the two countries”.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.