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WFP Scales up Safety Nets in Support of the Government’s Agenda for Change

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Freetown – The United Nations World Food Programme Executive Board has recently approved changes to its country portfolio which will allow it to better reach hungry vulnerable and malnourished people in Sierra Leone and support the government’s Agenda for Change until the end of 2012.

An increase of US$23 million in the ongoing Country Programme budget will allow WFP to reach an additional 135,200 vulnerable people, bringing the number of beneficiaries to 314,500.

The re-designed programme aims to increase access to basic education and improve school attendance, particularly among girls, through school feeding. It also seeks to improve the nutrition and health of people living with HIV, tuberculosis patients   and pregnant women, through the prevention of mother to child transmission programme.

A new Relief and Recovery Operation will have an overall budget of over US$41 million. The relief component will provide nutrition support to some 177,000 acutely malnourished children under 5 years of age and to 115,000 pregnant and lactating women. With its government and local partners, WFP will also train communities and institutions in feeding practices and hygiene.

The recovery component includes livelihood support to the poorest segments of the population, with a particular focus on women and youth, through food for work and cash for work programmes as well as providing food through selected training institutions.

“We hope that the donor community will come forward with generous contributions to these programmes, which are an integral part of the implementation of the Agenda for Change,” said Christa Räder, WFP Country Representative.

To boost pro-poor agricultural development as well as ensure the social protection of farm families, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security incorporated social and productive safety nets into their own Smallholder Commercialization Programme (SCP), which constitutes the first 5 years of Sierra Leone’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) investment plan.

Thirty-five percent of the overall investment budget is allocated to safety nets for the most vulnerable, while creating productive assets that help smallholder farmers increase their incomes, viability and access to markets.

“It is fundamental to economic and specifically agricultural development in Sierra Leone that the cycle of hunger caused by lack of education, malnutrition, and poverty is broken. The provision of safety nets under the Smallholder Commercialization Programme is crucial in this process, and WFP is our most important partner in it,” said Hon. Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.

WFP, Freetown

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