By Amin Kef-Ranger
U.S. Ambassador, Bryan Hunt, made a significant visit to Kenema this week, aimed at assessing the impact of U.S. Government aid facilitated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in combating food insecurity.
A grant totaling $3.2 million was allocated to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in 2022 channeling support toward vulnerable households struggling amidst soaring food and fuel prices and bolstering the school feeding initiative.
Ambassador Hunt engaged directly with smallholder farmers affiliated with the Gbotima Farmers’ Association in Bandawor town, emphasizing the strides made toward achieving food security. His visit also encompassed an inspection of the school feeding program at the National Islamic Primary School within the same town.
In Kenema district alone, a staggering 69,700 children—52 percent of whom are girls—across 328 schools are benefitting from daily hot meals, courtesy of the initiative. The U.S. Government-backed financial aid has additionally empowered WFP to assist over 1,400 smallholder farmers in cultivating 181 hectares of inland valley swamp. This effort ensures year-round cultivation in alignment with the Government of Sierra Leone’s ‘Feed Salone’ initiative.
Expressing commendation for the proactive engagement of local leaders in Kenema, Ambassador Hunt highlighted the collaborative efforts between farmers and school administrators. Despite persisting challenges in fortifying Sierra Leone’s food systems, he acknowledged the reassuring community-driven solutions, stating, “It is reassuring to see how community members are working together to build sustainable solutions. I’m proud that the U.S. Government can support these efforts.”
The ongoing support provided by the U.S. Government serves as a testament to the commitment toward forging a sustainable and resilient food security framework, underlining the importance of collaborative efforts in combating global food crises.