By Olimatou Coker
The World Food Programme Country Representative in the Gambia Magdalena Owusu Moshi has said that this year the Government has allocated 30Million Dalasis for school feeding meals in the national budget on a recurrent basis.
Madam Owusu Moshi was speaking Thursday at the African School Feeding day celebration held at the Arch Pavilions in Banjul.
She said this school feeding programme is considered as a national safety net and included in the national development plan to combat poverty and bring prosperity to the current and future generations.
“This year’s theme ‘realizing the African Child’s full potential through effective home-grown school feeding’ calls on each and every one of us to take concrete actions for sustainable funding of school feeding programme, effective collaboration and linking with small holder farmers in order to increase their agriculture productivity and their income through marketing opportunities,” she said.
According to her, the ministry of education and World Food Programme (WFP) are implementing cash based transfer in schools which would allow communities to diversify the food basket through local food and provide nutritious meals to the school.
The Hon Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Claudiana Cole stated that according to the report of the 3rd African day of school feeding commemoration in Zimbabwe of this year, various speakers reiterated the importance of investing in schools feeding considering its established benefits on the child, notably education, health and economic benefits.
She noted that the report further states that investment in human capital, especially in education has strong correlation with poverty reduction synergies.
“On behalf of my Ministry, I would like to seize this opportunity to enjoin all stakeholders including NGOs, philanthropists, public and private sector organisations to join the band wagon in complementing government’s efforts to make the nationally owned home grown school feeding a reality in the Gambia,” she added.
Furthermore, she stated that, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with key partners through support from major donors like Europe Union (EU), Japan and FASDEP provide school meals to over 125,000 beneficiaries and over 368 schools across the country.
“Plans are underway to include more beneficiary schools in the feeding programme in the near future,” she said.
Other speakers included the Lord Mayor of Banjul, Abdoulie Bah.