-To Be Financiers For School Feeding”
By T. Saye Goinleh
The African Union (AU) Special Representative to Liberia, Ambassador Ibrahim M. Kamara has reminded the government of Liberia that in most countries, a single line ministry, primarily the Ministry of Education and development partners are the principal financing and implementing agencies for school-feeding programs.
Ambassador Kamara said to keep a program like school feeding sustainable; it requires a joint effort, a stable and predicated funding, ideally through collaborating sponsors or partners and national allocation by central government to keep the program on track which he observes the opposite is happening in Liberia.
The African Union Special Representative to Liberia made the statement recently at the Monrovia City Hall during a one-day national stakeholders’ conference on Home-Grown food for the purpose of providing meals for Liberian children to remain in schools.
The conference advanced consultations and open dialogue on the implementation of the nationally-owned Homegrown School-Feeding initiative and its potential to be a critical driver of development in Liberia.
Ambassador Kamara told the gathering that investing in the agriculture sector to boost production to meet additional demand for school children is very essential, pointing out that the low application of monitoring and evaluation for school feeding programs on a national scale with limited usage of automated feeding system will contribute to policymaking.
He noted that while the homegrown school feeling initiative is taking shape as a new development approach here in Liberia, it is critically important that a robust management information system is put in place to support evidence-based policy development.
“Education-based objective and indicators remains the most common means for measuring outcomes from school feeding program in AU member’s states, with little integration of cross- sectorial indicators or objectives,” the AU Envoy to Liberia noted.
Amb. Kamara emphasized that this implies that there is a compelling need for a robust integration of other sectorial indicators for nutrition and agriculture evidence under Homegrown School Feeding.
He disclosed that generally, a cross-sectorial coordination and integration school-feeling is required into national development plans and agendas which to him is still at a nascent level of uptake.
Amb. Kamara is at the same time stressing that yet, country’s ownership is critical for the sustenance of school feeling program to the attainment of national development agenda, if the pro-poor ‘Agenda’ for prosperity and development will strongly contribute to achieving cross-sectorial policy objectives.
He however used the occasion to encouraged the government through its respective line ministries to strongly consider school feeling ‘s place and its homegrown component.
Amb. Kamara noted that in strategy conversations on improving human capital, increasing access to income generating activities, boosting national production and reaching desired impacts across the education, health and nutrition, agriculture and local economic development.
He concluded by saying school feeling is well positioned to facilitate progress across sectorial goals and objectives and at large the pro-poor ‘Agenda’ for prosperity and Development desire to foster social cohesion, promote inclusive social development and achieve sustained equitable economic growth.