Joint Press Release
January 24, 2018
Ministry of Education and WFP Welcome the US Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau to a school visit in Canchungo
Canchungo – The Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed the Ambassador of the United States to Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Tulinabo Mushingi, and his delegation on Wednesday to a visit to Catchobar school in the Canchungo sector, supported by the School Meals Programme, which receives a crucial funding from the United States Government through the Department of Agriculture’s McGovern Dole Program (MGD).
Since 2016, MGD has financed the School Meals Programme of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, supported by WFP, in the amount of US $ 18 million (CFA 9.5 billion) for the period 2016-2018. Currently, the School Meals Programme covers 758 schools in the eight regions of the country except Bissau and reaches 173,000 elementary and pre-school students, which means little more than 60% of the total national enrollments.
The MGD has so far provided 7,986 tons of rice, 1,146 tons of beans and 572 tons of vegetable oil for the School Meals Programme. Each student receives a hot meal containing 120g of rice, 20g of beans and 10g of vegetable oil from MGD, as well as 20g of canned fish donated by the Government of Japan. Girls in 4th, 5th and 6th grades receive 4.33kg of rice to take home every month, when they attend 80% of classes during the month. In addition, 105 schools in the Bafatá, Cacheu and Oio regions (65, 20 and 20, respectively) also receive locally produced and purchased food from small farmers associations for women and men partly funded by the Government of Guinea-Bissau.
Ambassador Mushingi emphasized the importance of school meals for children’s healthier growth and quality learning, which in turn would contribute to the development of the country. Mushingi added: “International support will not continue forever, so I would like to ask Government representatives to think with the community, Government, WFP and other partners to find different way to sustain the programme without the support of foreigners.”
Bernardette Lopes Correia, Director General of school meals, said that the Ministry is very satisfied with MGD’s support and hopes that MGD funding will continue and expand beyond 2019 so that all school-age children will have this incentive to pursue education.
WFP Representative Ms. Kiyomi Kawaguchi emphasized four advantages of the School Meals Programme: (1) promote children’s access to school; 2) encourage parents to send and keep children in school, particularly girls; 3) motivate children to stay in school; and 4) give children minimum conditions to learn with only $0.20 (CFA 106) per student. “These are one of the most effective investments to support children from low income household and to provide better results in their lives. We want to see one day, through the collaboration of these partners, the School Meals Programme covering 100% of the students in Guinea-Bissau,” said Kawaguchi.
The Government of Guinea-Bissau and WFP expect to work closely with the MGD and the US Government and that this partnership continues to keep all school-aged children in school, the place where children belong at least four hours a day, and provide opportunities for everyone to learn basic skills, read, write, calculate, and learn about nutrition and food security so they can defend themselves.
About the World Food Programme (WFP)
WFP is there for the furthest left behind, saving the lives of those caught in conflict or natural disasters, and building a brighter future by investing in nutrition and development. Every year, we provide food assistance to some 80 million people around 80 countries, changing their lives for the better.