Gambia celebrates culture through food as they celebrate International School Meals Day
On 5 March 2015, The Gambia held an event to recognise International School Meals Day as part of the world wide commemoration under the theme “Celebrating culture through food”. The celebration raised awareness on the importance of food and nutrition in education, as well as to share school feeding experiences from across the globe. The event was held at the GOVI school in Kanifing and brought together multiple stakeholders including government officials, international partners, school children, the school nutrition association and representatives from United Nations organisations FAO, WFP and UNAIDS.
In his launching statement, the executive director of the National Nutrition Agency and SUN Government Focal Point, Modou Cheyanssin Phall, said “School meals enhance social protection and is a safety net for communities, as it relieves hunger and contributes to better learning, increases enrolment, reduces absenteeism and enhances progressions from one grade to the next thus enabling children to achieve their full potential”.
World Food Programme (WFP) country representative Victoria Ginja commended the Gambia government for its “enormous contribution” to child feeding and nutrition. She said “The Gambia has taken concrete steps moving toward a nationally owned and managed school meals programme” and that WFP works with government and non-government partners including the European Union, UNICEF, FAO, among other international institutions to provide meals to children in schools.