The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and the World Food Programme, Tuesday August 27, 2019 signed the World Food Programme’s Country Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2019 to 2023.
WFP Liberia’s Country Director, Dr. Bienvenu Djossa, termed the signing of the four year-plan with a budget of US$50.2 million as an important milestone in the history of WFP’s engagement with Liberia.
Dr. Djossa expressed delight that the CSP is keenly aligned with the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development and its aim of addressing Liberia’s challenge of poverty alleviation.
He added that through the implementation of the CSP, the WFP will strongly contribute to the PAPD in terms of boosting rural agriculture program, education and health through the ‘Home Grown School Feeding Program’. The ‘Home-Grown School Feeding Program’ is expected to improve food security, nutrition, health, gender equality, education and social protection as well as supporting livelihood activities of youth.
MFDP’s Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Samora P. Z. Wolokolie, who signed on behalf of government thanked technicians from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and the World Food Programme for producing what he referred to as “development-oriented Country Strategic Plan”.
Minister Wolokollie described the Plan as “a great paper, a beautiful Liberia-focused document, and a five-in-one mechanism not only to enhance education, but to also promote food security, nutrition, health, and rural development”.
Deputy Minister Wolokolie said the Ministry will equally be “a congenital part of the implementation and monitoring of the CSP” which he emphasized is aligned with the first three Pillars of the PAPD: Pillar 1 (Power to the People), Pillar 2 (Economy and Jobs) and Pillar3 (Sustaining the Peace).
Speaking further, he revealed that WFP supported Liberia’s Zero Hunger Strategic Review (ZHSR) led by Dr. Amos Sawyer, and described it as a road map that is expected to assist the country in achieving SDG 2 aimed at ending hunger.
According to him, the school feeding program is a joint effort of WFP and the GOL, and other partners, and its main objectives are to achieve increased enrollment, improved classroom performance, enhanced learning activities, and discouraging drop-out rate.
He disclosed that MFDP is glad to learn that WFP, together with MOE used to provide school meals to 127,000 children daily in nine counties.
Giving statistics of that, he said that in 2016, this figure was raised to 300,000 in 9 counties and government is aware that another innovative aspect of school feeding is the girl’s take-home ratio, which is given out to girls in the upper primary classes to encourage them continue their education, and thus improve gender parity between boys and girls.
Government, he said, has allocated in Fiscal Year 2019/20 National Budget, US$500,000 toward home-grown school feeding, with the amount expected to increase as the country’s budgetary strength grows in the future.
Minister Wolokolie emphasized that the interesting thing about the innovation is that home-grown school feeding programme which is the focus of the CSP uses food produced by Liberian farmers for school meals for primary school children across the country.
He explained that the Programme aims to gradually reach 170,000 students by this year. This means that instead of WFP importing food to feed our children in school, the World Food Programme will instead spend that money here in-country to support our farmers to grow the food our children eat. This will in turn better our rural economy, our food security, our health, our nutritious status and above all else our social service programs.
Also speaking, Deputy Education Minister, Latim Da Thong, said the CSP is also aligned with the SDGs Pillars One, Two, Three and Eight, respectively. He said, the Ministry of Education has forged a strong partnership with the WFP which has witnessed capacity development activities over the years.
He assured that the Ministry is committed to linking the conventional school feeding program through an integrated school feeding program where all objectives of the CSP will be achieved.