The World Food Program (WFP) Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Addou Dieng says, the Liberian government’s Pro-Poor Agenda has put poverty reduction at the heart of its vision for the country.
He says the success of achieving a peaceful, economically-sustainable country on the pathway to development cannot be realized without empowering Liberian children with fundamental education, health, food and nutrition necessary for them to achieve their full potentials.
The WFP official made the statement recently at the Monrovia City Hall during a one-day National Stakeholders Conference on Home-Grown School Feeding Programmed. The Government of Liberia, the United Nations and other sector partners organized the conference to discuss the role of home-grown school feeding in ensuring every child in Liberia receives quality education necessary to reach their full growth and developmental potential.
The conference advances consultations and open dialogue on the implementation of the nationally-owned Home-Grown School Feeding initiative and its potential to being a critical driver of development in Liberia.
It is supportive of the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). Home-Grown School Feeding Programme encompasses a sustainable mechanism for strengthening the nexus between food security, nutrition, agriculture and education in Liberia and improving the livelihoods of the country’s growing youth population.
According to him, the number of children of school-age out of school and therefore, not receiving an education is about 40 percent of eligible children out of school.
He stresses that school meals do not only incentivize education, but provide some of the most vulnerable and food insecure children in the country with a nutritious, safe and filling meal every day.
“Therefore increasing their food security and nutrition, for some children, a meal at school may be the only meal they receive that day” Mr. Dieng notes. According to him, it is with the knowledge of the cross-cutting benefit of Home –Grown School Feeling and in recognition of significant gaps that still exist in the education system in Liberia today that the United Nations calls upon all stakeholders from government to development partners and the private sector to commit resources to the children of Liberia.
–Editing by Jonathan Browne