The regional director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for West and Central Africa, Abdou Dieng, arrived in Liberia yesterday, Sunday, 16 April, on a four-day official visit, according to a press release.
During his mission, Dieng is expected to meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and an array of senior government officials, including Finance and Development Minister Boima Kamara, Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah, and Dr. Amos Sawyer, who is the convener of the ongoing Liberia Zero Hunger Strategic Review exercise, a government initiative facilitated by the WFP, among other officials.
Mr. Dieng will also hold bilateral discussions with development partners, including representatives of the European Union, USAID, the World Bank, officials of the Embassies of Sweden and Germany, among others. In addition to interacting with the United Nations country team at large, he will hold bilateral meetings with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Liberia, Farid Zarif, and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Yacoub El Hillo.
Dieng will climax his visit on Wednesday with a tour of WFP and Government of Liberia-supported projects in Montserrado County during which he will appreciate the achievements of the livelihoods improvement and food security and nutrition activities.
Mr. Dieng’s visit comes at the time when WFP, since September 2016, is providing technical support to the Government of Liberia on the ongoing strategic review process that is intended to drive Liberia to zero hunger status by 2030 under Goal Number Two of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2016, WFP together with the Ministry of Education increased the number of children receiving daily school meals from 127,000 to 300,000 in nine counties.
WFP and partners also introduced the home-grown school meals program that provides locally produced nutritious food items like eddoes, potatoes and cassava as a way of diversifying school meals for school children and boosting food production. WFP further supports rural women farmers under its livelihoods and market promotions program by injecting money, agricultural tools and skills into their businesses and linking them to school meal schemes.
In his capacity as Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Mr. Dieng oversees about 20 West and Central African counties with nearly 40 active operations including three regional complex emergencies. Since 2003, Mr. Dieng has held several WFP Country Representative’s functions in Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo and Ethiopia. In addition to his WFP responsibilities, Mr. Dieng also served as Senior Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs from December 2013 to April 2014, among many other UN positions.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve food and nutrition security and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.