Italian gov't assists school feeding programme
Friday, August 08, 2008
The Italian government, through the World Food Programme (WFP), on Tuesday, donated 475 metric tonnes of rice to the school feeding programme in The Gambia, at a ceremony held at the WFP main warehouse in Kanifing.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mr Malcolm Duthie, WFP Representative in The Gambia, said "out of all the investments made by WFP in the areas of health and education of a country's children, Banjul is one of the most vital". He added that the school feeding operation run by the Department of Education is one of the unsung great achievements of the country.
"People do not realise that every day at school, in most of the rural areas, covering 500, mainly primary schools and early childhood development centres and some madrassas, some 120,000 Gambia children receive a nutritious meal. This is an extraordinary programme which has a multitude of benefits. The department of education estimates that it encourages enrolments and could account for upto 40%. It also ensures that children are able to concentrate well in school, for we know that better nutrition will enhance learning significantly," Mr Duthie remarked.
"The WFP has been a partner with The Gambia for the long term since 1970, one of the earliest UN agencies to be here in The Gambia. This Gambian school feeding programme has been particularly strongly supported and this was recently emphasised by both an approval last year for continued support of up to USD 13 million (covering the period 2007 to 2011) and also by the agreement with WFP to quickly allocate a further USD1.2 million of support for 2008 to ensure that the programme could continue to adequately feed the children while food prices rapidly escalated," he revealed.
He said the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency and the UN's frontline agency for hunger solutions, adding that the WFP plans to feed around 90 million people in 80 countries.
Baboucarr Boye, permanent secretary at the Department of State for Basic and Secondary Education, also spoke at the ceremony.
Author: by Assan Sallah and Asanatou Bojang