Gambia: Regional Workshop On National School Health, Nutrition Programme Underway

A-three-day regional workshop on Home Grown School Feeding within the context of national School Health and Nutrition (SHN) programmes yesterday kicked-off on June 4 in Banjul, Gambia.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Madam Fatou Lamin Faye, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, said "The forum presents an exciting opportunity that brings together a diverse range of expertise in the areas of education, agriculture and health, to explore further the barriers and actions required to achieve a nationally owned sustainable home-grown school feeding programme and linking it to the broader school health and nutrition package".

The workshop, which is hosted by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education of The Gambia, and funded by the Partnership for Child Development and the World Bank, was in response to the needs for raising awareness and understanding of diverse strategies for sustainable school feeding programmes, with a renewed focus on linkages with agriculture in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries.

According to organisers, the broad objectives of the Banjul workshop are to share experiences and take stock of the status of implementation of school-feeding programmes, with a view to having paradigm shift in favour of a nationally owned school feeding programme.

Mdm Faye continued to state, that having all these personalities from 13 different countries is a clear manifestation of the required commitment of the various governments to take ownership, using the multi-sectoral approach.

"It is also an event which demonstrates the unwavering resolve and commitment of both government and the World Food Program to successfully transit from an old model of school -feeding programme which largely depends on implementing partners, such as WFP to procure and deliver food aid to schools to one that will be totally and locally funded, managed and monitored," she said.

According to the Minister, when school feeding programmes are linked to local agricultural production, and integrated into SHN programmes they benefit all clients, by generating stable structured and predictable demand for their products.

She noted that a comprehensive SHN programme addresses challenges, such as HIV and AIDS prevention, malaria and parasitic worm treatment control and prevention, and nutritional deficiencies, such as iron-deficient anaemia and short-term hunger, through school -feeding.

Read the original article from All Africa

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