The Country Director and Representative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Felix Gomez has given an overview of their developmental strides to Awoko at his Tengbeh Town office in Freetown.
He said that in consultations with the UNDP, WFP has been able to rehabilitate a good number of feeder roads in areas like Port Loko, Kambia and Kailunun districts so that they can be able to improve travel within communities and market centers.
This he noted is very important because if the food has been harvested and it cannot reach the market then obviously it doesn’t serve anybody.
Gomez analyzed their key activities, disclosing that they have been in the areas where they have support from the vulnerable population who for one reason or the other if left on their own might not be able to support themselves because of dire economic conditions.
Most of the children from the age of 1-5 years are not provided for, due to reasons of low income in their families.
They are unable to feed them on a daily basis.
He stated “these children have been supported through our supplementary feeding programmes which is ongoing in several parts of the country”
The Country Director maintained that as part of the school feeding programs, WFP also currently supports 230,000 primary school children in 900 schools in seven districts in the country.
He indicated that the idea for this is for children to concentrate in school and also as a supplementary income for the family to save whatever money which is to be used to feed that child for that particular day and use it to feed another family member.
He pointed out that the other activities which are currently ongoing is to improve the livelihood of the farming communities in the rehabilitation of tree crop plantations like Cacao and Coffee which have been left unattended during the war and the people who were displaced and have returned to their farms.
Through this support he said, WFP is able to help them rehabilitate their farms pick up their lives again.
Felix Gomez maintained that in their food for walk support they have been able to halve the people engaged in local labour in their areas or chiefdom with their rehabilitation programs.
In return for that he said WFP provides them with food which serves not only as a way of supporting the people who are engaged in the physical work itself but also helps the farm component to be able to improve over time the production levels on these farms, and therefore be able to increase their income capacity.
The Representative echoed the WFP support for people living with HIV and AIDS who are given food supplements because nutrition is becoming the key component of the treatment.
He explained that the support is “Simply food because if even you have the antiretroviral drugs but you don’t have access to food you cannot take the drugs on an empty stomach” adding that “some of these people for one reason or the other are not able on their own to access food and therefore we have also been supporting them through the appropriate government machineries.”
He disclosed that at the policy level WFP has been helping the government to come up with a number of surveys and policy like security strategy document which was done in 2005 along with a food aid strategy document.