The World Food Program in Liberia has announced the distribution of take-home food rations to 5,000 pre-primary and primary school children in Maryland County.
A press release from the organization says that the assistance was made possible as a result of a contribution of 200,000 CAD (US$ 150,000) by the Government of Canada’s Fund for Local Initiative Program (CFLI) through WFP in Liberia.
“The rations comprising of rice, fortified vegetable oil, and pulses are intended to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the students and their families,” the release said.
“WFP is very grateful to the Government and people of Canada for their support to the school children in Liberia. This support will also raise awareness about the importance of improving girls’ access to education in the country and help to ensure that the next generation in Liberia reaches its full potential,” said Karla Hershey, the WFP Representative and Country Director in Liberia
According to the release, studies show it is more difficult for children to learn without adequate food and nutrition. Many families in Liberia put their children to work or keep them at home rather than send them to school. However, a daily nutritious school meal is a strong incentive to enroll children in school and keep them there.
“WFP provides school feeding as a critical intervention for improving the enrolment and learning status of children. The take-home rations play a vital role in enabling the whole family to receive nutritious food support while encouraging their children’s attendance,” the release said.
WFP, according to the release, prioritized school feeding in Maryland Country due to high rates of food insecurity and childhood malnutrition.
The release further revealed that up to 25 percent of children under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition in Maryland County, according to the Liberia Demographic and Health Survey 2019-2020. The situation is exacerbated by measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, including movement restrictions.