Commencing in September 2022, to be precise during the next academic year, the Western Area Rural District will be included in the school feeding programme slated to benefit a total of 800,000 (Eight hundred thousand) pupils nationwide.
That disclosure was made by the Deputy Minister ll of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Madam Mamusu Patricia Massaquoi, who has the responsibility of managing the School Feeding Programme.
According to her, the school feeding started in 2018 with 50,000 pupils further revealing that by then implementation was only done in Falaba and Koinadugu by the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in complementing the efforts of the Government.
“In 2019, we increased school feeding to 320,000 pupils when we have the World Food Programme (WFP) joining in feeding pupils in Kambia and Pujehun Districts. In 2020 when we had the outbreak of COVID-19, we still increased school feeding to a total of eleven districts feeding a total of 430,000 pupils,” she said.
Madam Massaquoi pointed out that in 2021, the Ministry expanded school feeding to all fourteen provincial districts feeding 441,000 pupils, and in 2022 expanded to 630,000 pupils from 90 Chiefdoms in all fourteen districts.
“By September 2022/2023 academic year, we will increase school feeding to fifteen chiefdoms including the Western Area Rural District, we will be targeting 2,930 pre-primary and primary schools and we will be feeding a total of 800,000 pupils which is about 60 percent coverage nationwide,” she said.
It must be noted that the policy builds on the Government of Sierra Leone’s pioneering Free Quality School Education (FQSE) initiative and pursues the guiding principles of the MBSSE that include universal access to quality and equitable education, radical inclusion, quality teaching and learning and comprehensive safety of all learners.
The policy’s goal is to promote the holistic development of children, local farmers, producers, and the community by ensuring that school feeding is recognized and treated as a sustainable, multi-sectoral investment program that receives support from various actors, including the Government at central and decentralized levels, communities, the private sector, civil society, the diaspora, and external donors.
The long-term objective of the policy is to ensure that school feeding contributes to the vision, mission, and goals of the Government of Sierra as articulated in the Mid-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) and the Education Sector Plan (ESP). Procuring and providing locally produced and processed nutritious and healthy school meals to pupils, contributes to education attainment and improvement of children’s nutritional status.