The First Lady of The Gambia, Her Excellency Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow has placed a strong connection between feeding programmesand the large increase in children’s ability to learn, access to education, and learning outcomes.
The First Lady made the remarks at the MaCarthy Square in Banjul where she joined partners and stakeholders in the children and education sectors in commemorating the 2019 Africa Day of School Feeding. The theme adopted by the African Union for this year’s celebrations is “Investing in Home-Grown School Feeding for Achieving Zero Hunger and Sustaining Inclusive Education for All”.
The school feeding day provides an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the multiple benefits of school feeding programmes. The UN World Food Programme is a global leader in providing meals for school children.
“Providing a hot meal for children in schools eliminates immediate hunger and keeps children well-nourished. For most of the children, this is the only nutritious meal of the day – or even the only meal of the day,” she explained.
The implementation of such programmes is an important step towards achieving the goals of the ‘Zero Hunger’ campaign, the First Lady noted. She added that her participation at the event stemmed from her disposition as a mother and former teacher who has strong passion for children.
“The enrolment, attendance and retention of students at primary school levels are increasing, especially among girls, leading to attaining gender parity in schools’’ First Lady Bah-Barrow stated. ‘’With the ability to concentrate and learn, there has also been improved grade performance in schools”.
The highlight of the event was when the Madame Bah-Barrow broke away with state protocol to personally interact with the school children and serve them lunch. The children sang melodious schools songs with inspiring messages.
While expressing gratitude to WFP for running the school feeding programmes in the country, she also thanked for them for sourcing the foods locally from local Gambian farmers.
Director of Press & Public Relations
Office of the President, State House, Banjul