The African Union ( AU) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have embarked on Home-Grown School Feeding Program. The AU in partnership with the WFP Thursday, 3rd March recognized school meals as the world’s critical safety net with importance in education and children’s future.
WFP Country Director Mr. Sory Ouane said, the newly introduced program is part of post-Ebola response programming the institution has started in preparation to direct Home-Grown School Feeding in Liberia partnering with stakeholders in order to increase agricultural development here.
The First Africa Day of School Feeding focuses on Home-Grown School Meals, where locally produced foods are purchased for use in school meals, maximizing the benefits for students, farmers and local communities, respectively.
Mr. Ouane said the program is in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Agriculture as part of a joint Home Grown School Feeding concept that was prepared by FAO, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP. “WFP believes the Home Grown School Feeding practice is the best way to ensure sustainability of the School Feeding Programme whereby primary school students in food insecure areas will continue to benefit”,he added.
In Liberia, WFP in coordination with the Ministry of Education currently provides nutritious school meals to 127,000 school children located in nine counties.
In an effort to encourage enrolment of female students and continuity in school, WFP also provides family take-home rations to over 4,000 adolescence female students in targeted schools. WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, said the school meals programme is a very important way to not only increase class enrolment, but to also sustain attendance, improve school performance, and grow local economies.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education in combination with the World Food Programme has embarked on a head count enumeration exercise in order to expand the number of students benefiting from school meals from 127,000 to 300,000 in the benefiting counties.
The program, according to the AU, is the world’s most widely used safety net with a vital role in education. The event will be celebrated in Liberia under the lead of the Ministry of Education later this month of March.
By Ethel A. Tweh