May 20, 2016
The Minister of Education, Science and Technology officially launched ‘All Pikin for Learn’, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “Food For Education” programme in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
At a ceremony on 17 May, U.S. Ambassador John Hoover spoke about the programme in the context of the strong partnership between the United States and Sierra Leone and the importance of primary education to the country’s development.
The ceremony was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the U.N. World Food Programme, education development partners, paramount chiefs, students, and teachers from Koinadugu District.
The third phase of ‘All Pikin for Learn’ continues on the work which began in 2008 before expanding to five food insecure chiefdoms in Koinadugu District. The programme has provided US$19.1 million in support during its first two phases. Through this three year extension, worth an additional US$18.2 million, the project seeks to improve literacy of primary school-aged children, reduce short-term hunger, and increase school attendance and the use of improved health and dietary practices. CRS will provide a daily meal of rice, lentils, and vegetable oil, all U.S. donated agricultural commodities, supplemented by local condiments, to an estimated 14,010 girls, 14,546 boys, 701 teachers, and 498 cooks.
USDA is also providing financial and technical assistance for related activities that support the objectives of ‘All Pikin For Learn’, including the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, latrines, hand pump wells, store rooms, training of primary school teachers, donation of school furniture and teaching materials, establishment of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and Mothers’ Support Groups, and training of officials and supervisors at the national and local level.
The ‘All Pikin for Learn’ initiative is part of USDA’s McGovern-Dole International Food For Education and Child Nutrition Programme, an international food assistance and development programme that seeks to decrease hunger, and improve the enrolment, attendance and literacy of primary school-age children around the world. Since the programme was established in 2002, it has benefited more than 30 million children in 38 countries.