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Iceland and World Food Programme (WFP) support Sierra Leone Government School Meals programme in Bonthe District

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a generous contribution of US$1.4 million from the Government of Iceland to provide nutritious meals to 36,000 school children in 167 public schools in Bum, Imperri, Kpanda Kemo, Sittia, Sogbeni and Yawbeko chiefdoms, Bonthe district. WFP in partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, will use this funding to strengthen the school feeding programme in Bonthe district by ensuring at least one food commodity in the food basket is sourced from local smallholder farmers. This will contribute to offering a reliable market to local smallholder farmers while simultaneously improving dietary diversity for school children.

"When farmers are linked to predictable markets this will incentivise them to produce more nutritious crops and increase their income," says Yvonne Forsen, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone. "We are grateful for the generous contribution and commitment of the people and Government of Iceland."

In Bonthe district, WFP will implement a climate sensitive Home-Grown School Meals programme targeting 136 primary schools. This programme will support 38 women Farmer Based Organizations, offering training, agricultural inputs and market opportunities to 1,140 women.

With the Iceland funding, farmer-based organizations will be supported to cultivate and deliver fresh vegetables and orange fleshed sweet potato to the target schools. WFP will also include locally-sourced fish in the school meals menu once a week in eight schools, while 1,500 students will benefit from improved school infrastructure such as kitchens and storage.

To provide a sustainable source of fuel for cooking, WFP will establish woodlots at school, and provide fuel-efficient stoves to reduce firewood consumption and protect the health of the cooks.

"Our contribution will boost the Feed Salone initiative of the Government of Sierra Leone and enhance access and retention in schools for all children in Bonthe district to reach their full potential," said Ásdís Bjarnadóttir, Head of Mission, Embassy of Iceland. "We are also excited about the programme introducing fish in school meals which will not only provide children with essential nutrients but has the potential to contribute to improving food security and build more resilient food systems".

Overall, in Sierra Leone, WFP provides school meals to 238,000 pupils in five districts including 28,000 school children under the home-grown school meals programme. The Government of Sierra Leone has prioritized home-grown school feeding as a key component of its National School Feeding Policy, with considerable premium on its multi-faceted nature including linking school feeding activities to local food production and procurement that has the potential to induce social and economic development of communities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).
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