Dear readers! You are highly welcome to yet another edition of your weekly column “Disability does not mean inability”. In today’s edition, we feature the speech of the Country Director of World Food Programme (WFP), Madam Vitoria Ginja, in Celebration International School Meals Day for the first time in the Gambia.
The event was held at the Gambia Organization for the Visually Impaired (GOVI) on Thursday, 5th March, 2015. We encourage other students to contribute and get their writing skills developed.
“We are gathered here to celebrate food and culture, as well as to renew our commitment to the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
As we commemorate for the first time in The Gambia, International School Meals Day, I am pleased to have such a golden opportunity to pay tribute and to express publicly my gratitude to the schools cooks all over the Gambia who passionately and consistently provide hot meals on a daily basis throughout the academic year,” said the WFP Country Director.
Madam Ginja said if children go to school on an empty stomach, happiness is absent and concentration vanishes. She said that in the past 40 years, school cooks have been steadfast in their commitment to prepare schools meals for our children.
She said the 796 volunteer cooks undertake multiple tasks – usually they are Food Management Committee members. They are the first to arrive at the school and ready to measure and prepare the commodities of the day, including rice, peas, oil and other vegetables, so that children are served hot meals on time.We are aware of youth’s challenges. There are times if you have to be creative and work with what is available in order to provide a delicious meal.
“As of today worldwide approximately 19.8 million children in 63 countries receive WFP supported school meals. We perform this work with government and non-government partners including the European Union, UNICEF, FAO and several other national and international institutions,” she said.
“I know that you (private sector) can and you want to,”I encourage you to contribute with your knowledge by giving opportunities to cooks in terms of training sessions including cooking demonstrations. Solidarity with them will be rewarding for our children,” she said.
WFP Country Director noted that WFP would continue to advocate for the right to nutritious meals for the children.
“I am sure that many hands and minds are needed to change the nutrition landscape for the better. Jointly we must act decisively to make nutritious school meals a reality in our schools”.