Housainou Taal – World Food Programme WFP Representative and Country Director
By Albert George Sheriff
”The pilot school feeding program has aided pupil’s retention in schools and also transformed teaching and learning ability in the Pujehun District and there is every need for a full-blown sustainable school meal program.”
This statement was made by the Chairman Pujehun District Council Sheikh Sowa during a joint-mission with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to visit four school-feeding sites in Pujehun District. He pleaded with the government and the World Food Program (WFP) to replicate the school-feeding to all primary schools in the country.
Speaking to AYV, the Paramount Chief of Sowa Chiefdom Chief Lahai Sowa II applauded the government of Sierra Leone for the school feeding program which he said will aid in human capacity development especially when the aim of the national school-feeding policy is to promote child health, nutrition, learning and development.
According to Chief Juana Macfoy III, Town Chief of Helebu Pejeh in Pujehun District, as community people, they are very supportive of the school feeding program and are engaged in planting vegetables and providing other condiments to add value to the program. He added that if supported with vegetable seeds it will enhance agriculture and the school feeding program will thrive and be sustainable, thereby boosting the local economy. He added that with a sustainable school feeding program there will be a chain of beneficiaries which include the economy, the agriculturist, human capital development as well as the children and there would be little worry about what to eat but rather what to learn.
According to Housainou Taal the World Food Programme WFP Representative and Country Director, this joint mission is aimed at raising awareness about the Integrated School Feeding model which is community- owned, adding that inclusive participation is at its core. The visiting team made a spot check at one of the oldest primary schools in the country the Sierra Leone Church Primary School at Helebu Pejeh which was founded in 1955. Other schools were also visited.