WFP REGIONAL DIRECTOR VISITS THE GAMBIA

By Fatoumatta K Jallow

World Food Programme (WFP) Gambia Office, on Wednesday, 19 October 2016, received the WFP regional director of west and central Africa. The objective of his visit is to meet government officials, donors and project sites to better understand the humanitarian situation, partners’ joint efforts towards assisting communities and populations in The Gambia to advocate for zero hunger.

In a visit to one of the project sites, Janack Lower Basic School in Janack, West Coast Region, Basiru Colley, head teacher of the Janack LBS, gave a brief history of the school. He said it was established in 1996 and they have eight (8) qualified teachers and some trainees from The Gambia College. Colley said they have seven classes five in the morning and two in the afternoon and one Early Childhood Development class which consists of 51 pupils.

Commenting on the school’s mother’s club, he said “the school is happy with the mother’s club and they are really doing well for the children, adding they even provide food for them sometimes and a vegetable garden because sometimes students stop coming due to the distance and also lack of food to eat”.

Joko Tamba, representative of the mother’s club commended WFP for what they have done for their children because with the happiness of the children their work will be easier. Highlighting some of the problems they are facing, she stressed that they are in need of a milling machine and a bakery as they have stopped working. According to her, if they have a bakery, they will be able to bake bread for the kids like before. Joko also lamented the shortage of water in the area.

Mr. Abdou Dieng WFP Regional Director commended the mother’s club for their hard work. He said the club is implementing what they call home grown school feeding, meaning that they are growing what the children are going to eat and it will help the women to cook for their children and it will also help the children to grow what they are used to eating.

“What we want to do is renew our commitment with you and support your efforts, we heard the demand made by the women in terms of water, bakery, and a milling machine,” he said.

The regional director said they will look into it and see the partners who can help with that. “What you are doing for the children is an obligation because these kids have a right to get education, so we collectively have to provide education for these children either as a mother or a teacher or whoever because it is our obligation,” he emphasised. In conclusion he described education as one of the most important areas that any country has to invest on, which is why not only the boys but also the girls have to go to school to the highest level.