JUBA – The UN World Food Program will provide school meals to over 500,000 children in 1,100 schools across the ten states of South Sudan.
The government of South Sudan and the WFP signed today a memorandum of understanding whereby the WFP will provide school meals to children for 19 months.
Speaking to reporters in Juba on Tuesday after the signing of the MoU at the Ministry’s headquarters, Adeyinka Badejo, the WFP Deputy Country Director said the project will contribute to increasing enrollment and encouraging parents to keep children in school.
“This agreement that we have signed today represents a strong partnership to provide a school meal to over 530,000 children in 1,100 schools across the ten states,” Badejo told reporters in Juba.
“We will be focusing on schools which are in more vulnerable areas where the level of food insecurity is high and where participation in education is low and where nutrition rates are concerning,” she explained.
She disclosed that the home-grown school feeding program will provide children the assurance of having daily nutritious meals at schools.
“The objectives of the program are really to encourage learning, and encourage children to come to school every day because they will get nutrition meal at school as well as support their nutritional well-being,” she disclosed.
“We hope that through the school feeding program, we will also be able to attract many children to school. We understand that over 2 a million children at this point in time are outside of the school system,” she added.
Kuyok Abol Kuyok, Undersecretary in the Ministry of General Education and Instruction said with the signing of the MoU, the Ministry will be able to provide school meals to over half a million children in school across the country.
“We have renewed this morning this important memorandum of understanding (MoU) with World Food Program (WFP), the Ministry will be able to provide school feeding to over half a million children in our country,” Abol said.
“This program is one of the strategies we have to improve education in South Sudan and we are very grateful to the World Food Program and donors,” said Kuyok.
He encouraged the farmers to produce their own food to help reduce reliance on imported food.
“The World Food Program procure food from neighboring such as Tanzania and Uganda but South Sudan is a country that agriculturally enables to provide its own feed, so, we are encouraging our farmers to grow food so that we can buy this local food to provide food for our schools,” he added.
He explained that this school feeding program aims at improving the education system in the country.
On 28 January, the report released by the UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) said that more than 39 billion in-school meals have been missed globally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic due to school closures.