The country director and representative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Sierra Leone, Felix Gomez, has said that between January 2005 to June 2007 135,000 people are to benefit from a total value of US$14.8 under the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO).
He said, “the objective of PRRO is to provide relief and recovery assistance to the neediest, displaced persons, including refugees, returnees and other vulnerable groups in the country”.
The WFP country director added that this recovery operation was part of the West Africa regional PRRO under which assistance was also provided by WFP to displaced populations in Guinea and Liberia.
Mr Gomez noted that, “under the Sierra Leone component, support for food assistance is provided not only to Liberian refugees in camps in the country, but support is also provided under our emergency school feeding programme to schools in Kailahun, Kono and Pujehun districts.”
The country representative also said they were supporting tree crop rehabilitation and other food for work programmes in Kailahun and Pujehun districts, and that they were also giving support to supplementary feeding programmes for malnourished children and their mothers in Bo, Kenema, Pujehun and Kailahun.
Felix Gomez said WFP’s country programme, which covers the period of January 2005 to December 2007, “focuses on three main outcomes: increased access to basic education and improved attendance and retention rates of children, particularly girls; improved nutrition and health of vulnerable groups, including people living with AIDS; and enhanced capacity of poor food-insecure households and communities to rehabilitate, create and maintain assets”.
He maintained that the programmes were being implemented in Port Loko, Kambia, Kailahun, Tonkolili, Koinadugu and Bonthe districts with a target population of 302,000 per annum; including school children, malnourished children under five years, pregnant and lactating women.
Mr Gomez accentuated that, ”farmers are being supported under the food for work schemes, people living with HIV and AIDS, and beneficiaries of skills training programmes.
The country director disclosed that the total value of this three-year operation was US$20.6 million, adding that “WFP is currently working on a new three-year country programme to be implemented from January 2008 to December 2010”.
The document is expected to be approved by the WFP Executive Board in June 2007 and will focus on the areas of education and health, he declared.
He added that, “we are also working on a new PRRO to be implemented from July 2007 to June 2009, and will focus on programmes to improve food security in the districts of Kono, Pujehun, Kailahun, Bo, Kenema and Bonthe districts”.