Germany Donates €10 Million to WFP to Provide Nutritious Meals to School Children in Sierra Leone

Germany Donates €10 Million To Wfp To Provide Nutritious Meals To School Children In Sierra Leone

The Federal Republic of Germany has pledged a generous donation of €10 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the provision of nutritious meals to primary school children in the Karene district of northern Sierra Leone. This significant contribution aims to improve food security, boost local food production, and stimulate the economy while enhancing the well-being of vulnerable children.

Under the German-funded home-grown school meals program, WFP will supply diverse and safe meals to approximately 25,300 pre and primary school children in 115 schools from 2024 to 2028. The meals will be prepared using locally produced food sourced from 8,000 smallholder farmers. By connecting farmers to schools and promoting local agricultural communities, particularly women, the project will create demand for nutritious and diverse food, shorten value chains, and strengthen food systems.

Sierra Leone has been a crucial focus for WFP’s school feeding initiatives, providing meals to 238,000 students across five districts. With this new contribution, the home-grown school feeding program will expand to cover 53,000 pupils, marking a 22 percent increase in early 2024.

Jens Kraus-Massé, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone, emphasized the significance of this contribution, stating, “This contribution shows the commitment of Germany to improving food security in Sierra Leone in line with the Government’s ‘Feed Salone’ initiative.”

Conrad Sackey, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, expressed his gratitude for the timely funding, highlighting its crucial role in realizing the President’s vision for human capital development. The government of Sierra Leone has prioritized home-grown school feeding as a key component of its National School Feeding Policy, recognizing its potential to induce social and economic development within communities.

Yvonne Forsen, WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone, expressed delight at Germany’s commitment to transforming the lives of vulnerable populations in Sierra Leone. She reaffirmed WFP’s dedication to partnering with organizations to enhance food security, nutrition, livelihoods, and the local economy in the country.

Additionally, in alignment with the Sierra Leonean government’s efforts to address the global climate crisis, a portion of the German funding will be allocated to constructing environmentally friendly kitchens and storerooms, as well as fuel-efficient stoves to reduce the use of firewood.

The United Nations World Food Programme, known as the largest humanitarian organization globally, strives to save lives during emergencies and employs food assistance to establish a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for individuals recovering from conflicts, disasters, and the impacts of climate change.


Source: World Food Programme

German Troops Begin Withdrawal from Gao as UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali Winds Down

German Troops Begin Withdrawal From Gao As Un Peacekeeping Mission In Mali Winds Down

The withdrawal of German troops from Gao, Mali, has commenced as the United Nations (UN) undertakes the dismantling of its peacekeeping mission in the country by the end of this year. Starting on Tuesday, personnel stationed at Camp Castor, which supports the activities of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), began disassembling and transporting their equipment back to Germany.

This move aligns with the UN Security Council’s decision in June to conclude the decade-long peacekeeping mission in Mali. The military junta in Mali, which has recently aligned itself with Russia, had urged the removal of foreign troops from the country. The junta’s cooperation with Russia also included the involvement of the Wagner Group.

Mali’s relationship with the United Nations has significantly deteriorated since a military coup in 2020 brought a military regime to power, which subsequently severed defence cooperation with France, its former colonial power. As per the long-standing UN protocol, the host country’s approval is required for a peacekeeping mission to be established.

As of the end of November, the UN mission had dismantled nine of the twelve MINUSMA bases in Mali. MINUSMA has been deployed in the country since 2013 to support the nation’s security against jihadist rebels affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, as well as a separatist uprising led by the Tuareg people.

The withdrawal of German troops signifies another step towards the conclusion of the UN peacekeeping mission. The process of dismantling bases and transporting equipment back to respective countries is a complex endeavour that requires careful coordination to ensure the safety of personnel and the preservation of peace and security in the region.

The UN and its partners, including Germany, remain committed to working closely with the Malian government to facilitate a smooth transition and support the country’s efforts towards long-term stability. The conclusion of the peacekeeping mission marks a significant milestone in Mali’s trajectory, highlighting the need for continued international cooperation and support to address the remaining challenges faced by the nation.

As the UN mission in Mali winds down, the focus will shift towards strengthening the capacity of the Malian security forces and promoting sustainable development in the country. The international community will continue to monitor the situation in Mali closely and explore avenues for collaboration to ensure lasting peace and prosperity for its people.


Source: Africa News

UN Announces Broader Rollout of Malaria Vaccine in Africa, Signalling a New Era in Disease Control

The United Nations has announced the expansion of malaria vaccination efforts across Africa following the arrival of the first shipment of doses in Cameroon. After a successful pilot phase in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, where over two million children were vaccinated since 2019, the program is now entering a broader rollout phase. A total of 331,200 doses of RTS,S, the first malaria vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), have arrived in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.

The WHO, UNICEF, and the Gavi vaccine alliance released a joint statement welcoming the delivery, stating that it signifies the imminent scale-up of malaria vaccination in high-risk areas of the African continent. They described it as a historic step toward vaccinating against one of the deadliest diseases affecting African children. The doses are donated by the manufacturer GSK.

Cameroon’s Health Minister, Malachie Manaouda, urged parents to take advantage of this life-saving intervention, emphasising that malaria remains a significant public health threat in the country. In the coming weeks, an additional 1.7 million doses will be delivered to Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone.

Malaria is the leading cause of mortality in infants and children under five in Liberia. Wilhelmina Jallah, Liberia’s Health Minister, expressed the potential of the vaccine to save many lives and alleviate the burden of the disease.

Several African countries are finalising preparations to introduce malaria vaccines into routine immunisation programs, with the first doses set to be administered between January and March 2024. UNICEF Chief Catherine Russell likened the introduction of vaccines to adding a star player to the field, marking a new era in immunisation and malaria control.

Africa accounted for approximately 95 percent of global malaria cases and 96 percent of related deaths in 2021. While global malaria deaths fell significantly between 2000 and 2019, reaching 568,000, they increased by 10 percent in 2020 to 625,000 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on protection and treatment efforts. In 2021, deaths slightly decreased to 619,000, with 77 percent of them being children under five. Global malaria cases rose slightly to 247 million.

The rollout of the RTS,S vaccine is considered a breakthrough moment for malaria vaccines and disease control. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described it as a ray of light in a dark time for vulnerable children worldwide. The vaccine targets the plasmodium falciparum parasite, the most deadly malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa. Administered in a four-dose schedule starting around five months of age, the broad implementation of malaria vaccination in endemic regions has the potential to be a game-changer, saving tens of thousands of lives annually, according to the joint statement released by the WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi.

David Walton, the United States’ global malaria coordinator, described this moment as the culmination of decades of efforts and expressed hope for a world in which no child dies from a mosquito bite. The expanded vaccination campaign brings renewed optimism for malaria control and paves the way for a future where the impact of this devastating disease is significantly reduced.


Source; Africa News