By Rohey Jadama & Abdoulie G. Dibba The World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) sensitized both th electronicand print media on the school feeding programme on Monday 2nd March, 2015 at the Regional Education Directorate in Kanifing. The main objective of this sensitization according to organisers is to communicate the current activities in order to bring awareness to the general public as to what is going on with regard to the successes as well as the constraints of the school feeding programme. Mr. Baboucarr Bouye, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) indicated that awareness creation, frequent information sharing and feedbacks are key ingredients required to foster ownership and effective participation. PS Bouye pointed out that understanding the concept of home grown school feeding, how it works and what benefits there are and the role of all stakeholders is an important starting point for awareness creation for all stakeholders. “The vision envisaged for this sensitization is that all stakeholders have greater understanding of home grown school feeding program and fully participate to ensure that healthy and nutritious food for school feeding is available in all schools at all time”, says PS Bouye. He said the programme is designed to empower local farmers to benefit from the school feeding market and encourage improved production practices among small-scale farmers. Speaking earlier, Madam Vitoria Ginja, the World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director opined that school feeding is part of the multisectoral intervention with the ultimate goal of contributing to increase in enrolment and retention. “As we celebrate this week, international school meals day, we, MoBSE and WFP consider it relevant to take the advantage in creating a better understanding of what school feeding encompasses as a hoslistic approach and how we jointly raise awareness” said the WFP Country Director. She outlined that the role of the media goes beyond awareness creation; she said the media serves as a link between the project implementation team and the general public and that school feeding promotes equal access to education and learning by boosting enrolment, attention and completion rates. “ School meals also contribute to gender equality by providing special incentives for sending girls to school, reducing hunger and increasing child’s ability to concentrate and learn, enhancing the child’s educational achievements”, said the WFP Country Director. On his part, the Executive Director of the Gambia Press Union, Gibaru Janneh called on the press to report accurately as their role is relevance in awareness creation. He thanked MoBSE and WFP for recognizing the role of the media which motivated them to call for this media sensitization on the school feeding programme. After the opening session, Journalists from both the electronic and print media were exposed to the background, objectives of the sensitization agenda and expected outputs; overview of WFP Assistance in the Gambia; Video Documentary on school feeding; General understanding of  school feeding; the current status of school feeding-Capacity development and home grown; local procurement; discussion and question and answer session.]]>

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