The aim of the meeting was to express his government’s support to the Free Quality Education initiative of the Government of Sierra Leone though the school feeding programme.
According to Ambassador Himeno, the human development basket includes health and education, adding that his government will continue providing support in the educational sector in Sierra Leone.
“The Government of Japan is very happy to support Sierra Leone’s free quality education initiative including collaboration with the WFP for school feeding in Kambia and Pujehun districts,” said Ambassador Tsutomu Himeno.
The Ambassador revealed that Japan has been supporting school construction and agriculture development projects in Sierra Leone.
Speaking during the meeting the WFP Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone, Dr. Housainou Taal said WFP will be implementing a pilot simultaneous school feeding programme targeting 35,000 school children in 142 schools in 11 (eleven) vulnerable chiefdoms in Pujehun and Kambia districts, where educational indicators (access and enrolment) of boys and girls, food insecurity and malnutrition indicators are among the worst in the country.
“The aim is to increase enrolment and retention in school and improve nutritional status of children, thus supporting food security measures in the country”, he added.
The WFP Representative and Country Director further stated that support from the Japanese Government has been timely for this intervention and will greatly contribute towards the future of children in Sierra Leone.
“WFP is feels honored and privileged that the government is seeking WFP’s support to purchase and provide transportation of food for the national school feeding programme covering some 420,000 children”, he said.
Giving his statement during the meeting the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Hon. Alpha Osman Timbo thanked the people and the Government of Japan for its generous support for the school feeding programme in Sierra Leone through WFP.
“We expect to develop a sustainable “home grown’ school feeding programme that addresses not only education but also agriculture production, health and sanitation and value addition and supply chain in an integrated manner”, he added. The Minister said that Japan has done a lot in these areas in the country through JICA and other different aid schemes.
He described WFP as a partner of choice to the Ministry of Education in the implementation of the school feeding programme, pointing out that the programmes are essential in the implementation of the educational standards in Sierra Leone and will help to increase enrolment and address absenteeism of children in schools.
A symbolic handover of food items by the Ambassador of Japan to the Minister of Education climaxed the occasion.