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“Put Pro-Poor Agenda At Heart Of Development”

-WFP Regional Director Asserts

By T. Saye Goinleh

The World Food Program (WFP) Regional Director for West and Central Africa has said the Liberian Government’s widely publicized “Pro-Poor Agenda’’ should focus on the reduction of poverty in all sectors of society at the heart of its vision on the development for the country.

According to Addou Dieng, the success of achieving a peaceful, economically-sustainable country on the pathway to development cannot be realized without the empowerment of Liberian children with fundamental education, health, food and nutrition necessary for them to achieve their full potentials.

The WFP regional official made the statement recently at the Monrovia City Hall during a one-day national stakeholders’ conference on the home-grown school feeding program which was some months back suggested to keep mainly young pupils of public schools to get used to consuming their local diets while in the classrooms.

The Government of Liberia, the United Nations and other sector partners organized the conference to discuss the role of the home-grown School Feeding Program in ensuring that every child in Liberia receives quality education necessary to reach their full growth and developmental potential.

The conference advanced consultations and open dialogue on the implementation of the nationally owned home-grown School Feeding initiative and its potential to be a critical driver of educational development in Liberia.

The conference is closely aligned to and supportive of government’s “Pro-Poor’’ Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). Home-grown School Feeding Program encompasses a sustainable mechanism for strengthening the nexus between food security, nutrition, agriculture and education in Liberia aimed at improving the livelihoods of the country’s growing youthful population.

Addou Dieng further explained that the number of children of school-age that are presently out of school and as the result of not receiving education remains a significant forty percent of those eligible children who are to be in the classrooms. “Schools meals not only serve as encouragements for the kids to pay attention to their lessons, but provide some of the most vulnerable ones and food-insecure children in the country with nutrition. Therefore, increasing the food security and nutrition for some children at school may be the only meal they receive that day”, Dieng said.

The WFP regional director for West and Central Africa pointed out that with the knowledge of the cross-cutting benefits of home-grown school feeding and in recognition of the significant gaps that still exist in the educational system in Liberia today, the United Nations calls on all stakeholders from government to development partners and the private sector to commit resources in the children of Liberia.

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