Gambia Workshop Convenes West African Experts to Strengthen HGSF Programmes

Children in Mali

Government officials from ministries of agriculture, education and health represented 12 West African countries who convened in the Gambia for a workshop focused on strengthening school feeding programmes linked to local agricultural production.  

Workshop Director and Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Gambia, Mrs Amicoleh Mbaye said,“Seeing the various personalities from 12 different countries come together was a clear manifestation of government commitment to school feeding programme ownership using the multi-sectoral approach”.

Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programmes which link school feeding to agricultural production are one of the school based health and nutrition (SHN) services available to schools helping to promote enrolment, attendance and improve children’s learning abilities. HGSF programmes also encourage agricultural development and local livelihoods; creating a stable and predictable market for both local smallholder farmers and others involved in the delivery of school meals.

It has become widely recognised that SHN interventions support child health and well-being and encourage children to be fit to learn. In addition to school feeding, these interventions address challenges such as HIV/AIDS prevention, malaria, parasitic worms and nutritional deficiencies – which have hugely negative impacts on child health, education and their achievements later in life.   

Debate at the last ECOWAS meeting in Mali

Mrs Mbaye continued, “This workshop brought together a diverse range of expertise in the areas of education, agriculture and health, to explore in-depth barriers and subsequent actions required to achieve nationally owned sustainable HGSF programmes linked to the broader school health and nutrition package”.

Due to the win-win benefits of HGSF both for farmers and children alike, many low and middle income country governments are striving towards implementing nationally owned, sustainable HGSF programmes. The workshop built on this interest in the West Africa region, and was hosted by the Gambian Government, on behalf of ministries of agriculture, education, health, local government and rural development from countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with support provided by the World Bank and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD).

Key school feeding and SHN programming stakeholders attended to represent countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali and Senegal who at the workshop, learnt from discussions centred on good practice in SHN interventions, and ways to strengthen school feeding linkages with agriculture. Country teams also had the chance to share experiences, network across teams and learning was put into action as countries worked on HGSF programme action plans. 

During the workshop, programme implementers and policy makers shared their successes, challenges and overall experiences from diverse perspectives,said PCD’s West Africa Regional Coordinator, Daniel Mumuni. He continued,Local ministries were also able to discuss effective ways of bringing their comparative advantages to programme implementation. In the end, Government capacity and leadership to effectively manage HGSF is imperative, and the workshop further enhances this process”. 

Notes for Editors

The Gambia Workshop

The workshop was hosted by the Government of Gambia, supported by the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) and the World Bank and was themed Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) within the context of comprehensive School Health and Nutrition. It was held in Banjul, the Gambia from June 4 – 6. Its structure was conducted through plenary sessions, country case study presentations, group work and presentations, with opportunities for networking across and within country teams. 12 countries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in attendance, representing ministries of agriculture, education, health, local government and rural development.

Partnership for Child Development (PCD)

PCD based at Imperial College London, is a global consortium of civil society organisations, academic institutions and technical experts, committed to improving the education, health and nutrition of school-age children and youth in low and middle income countries through interventions implemented through schools. / /

The World Bank

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. The Bank helps governments in developing countries reduce poverty by providing them with money and technical expertise needed for a wide range of projects—such as education, health, infrastructure, communications, government reforms, and for many other purposes.

Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF)

HGSF is highlighted in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s (NEPAD) vision for nationally owned, sustainable programmes aimed at improving the food security of smallholder farmers, many of whom are women. NEPAD guide governments to include HGSF as a key intervention within the food security pillar of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework.

For further information please contact

Charlotte Broyd /  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  / +44 (0)20 7594 2754

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