Monrovia, Liberia – On Friday, June 1, 2018, the Ministry of Education joined with partners including the World Food Programme (WFP), Save The Children, and Mary’s Meals to celebrate the African Day of School Feeding.
In attendance were the Minister of Education, Prof. Ansu D. Sonii, Sr. and members of his staff. There were also representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Embassy of the United States of America, the African Union (AU), the World Bank, Mary’s Meals, Save The Children, and the World Food Programme.
Speaking at the event, Minister Sonii noted that improving food security and nutrition in vulnerable communities is essential for Liberia’s development. He called for a renewed focus on improving the production of local agricultural produce, enhancing the quality and diversification of crops, improving management of natural resources, and mitigating risks to food security. Further, he called on all parents to support their children’s education by providing breakfast before they leave home, ensuring that they can participate fully in class and reach their full potential.
Cllr. Sayma Syricious Cephus, Deputy Minister for Regional Development and Extension of the Ministry of Agriculture also delivered a guest speech, stressing the need for schools to engage in farming to ensure sustainable sources of food for students. He highlighted the importance of proper nutrition for realizing the potential of the next generation.
African School Feeding Day was launched in 2016, following an African Union (AU) resolution acknowledging the contribution of school feeding to human capacity development in Africa. The AU selected March 1 of every year to be celebrated as the African Day for School Feeding and set the guidelines for the day to be honored at the country, regional, and continental levels. The AU Assembly also adopted home-grown school feeding as a continental strategy for enhancing the retention and performance of students while also bringing economic benefits to farmers and local communities.
The celebrations in Liberia follow the third annual continental celebration, under the theme “Realizing the African Child’s Full Potential through Effective Home-Grown School Feeding,” which was held in Harare, Zimbabwe on March 1 of this year, under the patronage of the African Union, the Zimbabwean Government, the WFP, and others. The program brought together senior officials from the African Union, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Assistant Ministers from Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Niger, South Sudan, and Liberia as well as representatives from over 30 African Countries. Also represented were development partners, members of the diplomatic corps and civil society groups.
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