OVER D120 MILLION EU FUNDED PROJECT LAUNCHED

Abdoulai G.Dibba

A 2.6 million Euro, equivalent to about D120 million Bio-fortification project funded by the European Union and to be implemented by United Purpose, formerly Concern Universal, has been launched on Tuesday 1 August 2017, at the Regional Education Office in Brikama, West Coast Region.

According to the organisers, the Bio-fortification project is a four-year European Union funded project to reduce micro nutrition deficiencies of women and children in The Gambia through sustainable and integrated approaches to food fortification.

The Organisers stated that the overall objectives of the project are to reduce under-nutrition and poverty, especially among women and children in The Gambia by strengthening sustainable access to and consumption of fortified foods.

In his welcome statement, the governor of West Coast Region, Ebrima Mballow, thanked the European Union for always being on the side of the Gambia and said the Bio-fortification project would contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of the people of his region and the country as a whole. The Governor said that United Purpose, formerly Concern Universal, had successfully implemented series of projects in his region such as rice development schemes, vegetable production support, climate resilience and a host of other interventions. He pointed out that he is confident that the project will achieve its stated objective.

On behalf of the European Union, Carla Montesi said the project has the potential to make a difference as 18,000 rural householders are to be reached and they should experience an improvement in their health and nutrition situation.

“This project was selected among many others through a competitive process and we all have high expectations about it. The challenge therefore is not easy,” she stated.

“United Purpose and its partners therefore have an important responsibility and this is not business as usual,” she concluded.

On his part, the program Manager of United Purpose Ousman Jammeh, said the project is built around four result areas and these are:-

  1. Increase nutritionally diversified and more resilient agricultural production for targeted smallholder farmers
  2. Viable gender-sensitive agri-business and processing opportunities identified, developed and implemented
  3. Community nutritional health education linked to fortified foods
  4. Develop a conventional fortification road map.

Mr Jammeh stated that the project will be housed in Kairaba Avenue and will be implemented throughout the country, through ten local Non-governmental Organisations or partners.

In her launching statement, the Minister of Women Affairs and overseer of the Office of the Vice President, Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, said the project was another milestone in the country’s difficult route from the clutches of women and child malnutrition and food insecurity.

“It is our belief that ensuring household and national food and nutrition security is the core of all our dreams and will remain the same for future generations,” she stated. Madam Jallow-Tambajang, who is the minister of women’s affairs, called for greater transparency in the implementation of the project as “this will engender common understanding, ensure a level playing field as well as ease implementation of project activities.”