By: Eldred Wlemongar Thomas
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and World Food Prpgram Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Abdou Dieng have reaffirmed their support for the ongoing government-led zero hunger strategic review exercise and the school feeding (also known as home-grown school feeding) programme.
The Liberia Zero-Hunger Strategic Review process, led by the Government of Liberia with support from WFP, has progressed smoothly since it started in September 2016.
The zero-hunger strategic review is intended for the country to identify the measures that need to be implemented to attain zero hunger status by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goal No. 2.
President Sirleaf and Mr. Dieng also pledged their unflinching commitment to the school meals programme in the country that provided 300,000 children daily hot meals before it was stopped in February due to funding constraints.
The President then recognized the importance of home-grown school feeding, which is an integral component of the zero-hunger effort, as having the potential to link education with agriculture, nutrition and health as well as smallholders farmers’ livelihoods and income generation.
President Sirleaf underscored the need for WFP, through working with her government and partners, to promote locally grown nutritious food items and encourage Liberian children to eat more diversified local diets.
She therefore requested that the launch of the zero hunger strategic review report in May 2017 be done together with a concept note to promote home-grown school feeding as a mechanism to combating hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.
It will also empower rural women and create more jobs for enterprising youth.
WFP’s Regional Director Mr. Dieng on Tuesday also held bilateral interactions with several embassies and development partners including the Embassies of Sweden and Germany as well as USAID and the World Bank.
Discussions focused on promoting home-grown school feeding programme, social safety nets in Liberia through food security initiatives and the comprehensive food security and vulnerability assessment that WFP and partners are committed to conduct in 2017.
WFP’s Regional Director for Central and West Africa is on a four-day visit to Liberia, during which time bilateral discussions with two senior officials of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Mr. Dieng is expected to depart the country tomorrow for neighbouring Sierra Leone in continuation of his two-nation tour.