The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received US$1.2 million from the Government of Japan to provide school meals in North Bank and Central River regions over the next two years on Tuesday 9 August 2016.
The funds will enable WFP to resume the provision of a daily hot meal to 50,000 children in 186 public primary schools and traditional religious schools in vulnerable districts of the two regions in the new school year, which starts in September after temporarily halting program due to lack of funding.
The contribution will also help build the capacity of and strengthen collaboration with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education through implementation of the joint school meals action plan.
“WFP is grateful for Japan’s continuous and timely support and we recognize Japan’s commitment to our work in the Gambia. By supporting the school meals programme, WFP is responding to the significant needs of many vulnerable children and we can help them shape a brighter future,” said Angela Cespedes, WFP Country Director in The Gambia.
It was noted that the contribution will allow WFP to support the country’s national development goals of reducing food insecurity and malnutrition among children, and to build on improving enrolment and retention rates of both girls and boys. School meals are an investment in the longer-term and help build human capital and increase the productivity of a nation.
The Government of Japan is one of WFP’s main supporters in The Gambia, assisting nutrition interventions for women and children.
In 2015, Japan provided WFP with an in-kind donation worth US$2 million to provide daily meals to school children in the Upper River region and the Greater Banjul area.