The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) provides take-home rations for preschool and primary school children and their households, totaling 20,000 beneficiaries. Rations including rice, fortified vegetable oil and legumes are intended to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and their families. This assistance was made possible through a contribution of CAD 200,000 (US $ 150,000) from the Government of Canada to WFP Liberia.
“WFP is very grateful to the government and people of Canada for their support of school children in Liberia,” said Karla Hershey, WFP Representative and Country Director in Liberia. “This support will also raise awareness of the importance of improving girls’ access to education in the country and help ensure that the next generation in Liberia reaches their full potential.”
Studies show that it is harder for children to learn without proper diet and nutrition. Many families in Liberia put their children to work or keep them at home rather than sending them to school. However, a daily nutritious school meal is a strong incentive to enroll children in and keep them there.
WFP provides school feeding as a key intervention to improve children’s schooling and learning status. Take-home rations play a vital role in ensuring that the whole family receives nutritious food support while encouraging the presence of their children.
WFP has prioritized school feeding in Maryland due to high rates of food insecurity and child malnutrition. Up to 25 percent of children under five are chronically malnourished 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.
Meals provided to 5,000 schoolchildren by WFP with Canada’s support aim to reduce the impact of socio-economic shocks from COVID-19 on vulnerable girls and boys and their families.