By Francis Boima WEF Sierra Leone
This medium has been intimated that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday 16th January 2020 welcomed an important contribution of 2,850 metric tonnes of rice from the Government of Sierra Leone to support the implementation of the country’s national school feeding programme which is at the centre of the government’s “free quality education” initiative.
The rice donated to Sierra Leone by the People’s Republic of China will complement some US$ 3.6 million (35 Billion Leones) of Government budget allocated to WFP to buy food and provide meals to more than 300,000 primary school children in the districts of Kambia, Pujehun Bombali, Bonthe, Kailahun, Karene, Kenema, Kono, and Port Loko as part of the government-led programme.
The Government of Sierra Leone and WFP signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2019 aimed at improving school feeding activities in the country. WFP will focus on boosting capacity in the areas of monitoring, planning, sensitization and food handling, storage and transportation. WFP will also work with the Government to facilitate the gradual handover of the school feeding programme, and its integration into the national social protection basic package that is in line with the National School Feeding Policy.
“We commend the Government of Sierra Leone for including a dedicated line for school feeding in its national budget, which demonstrates its commitment towards this programme,” said Yasuhiro Tsumura WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Sierra Leone. “WFP is honoured to be a partner of choice for its implementation.”
The programme will ensure that children receive timely and adequate nutritious meals that meet their basic food and nutrition requirements, a measure that helps to increase school enrolment and retention rates.
WFP is the world’s largest supporter of school feeding – including in 41 African nations – providing technical and operational support to governments. WFP has handed over school feeding programmes to governments in 31 countries, where school feeding continues to this day.
WFP continues to work closely with partners, agencies and governments to ensure the success of the programme aimed at those who need it most — and especially safeguarding primary school children’s access to balanced, nutritious meals, promoting opportunities to diversify diets with local produce, and reinforcing skills and good habits in nutrition, health and hygiene.
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, natural disasters and the impact of climate change.