UN helps Liberia feed schoolchildren left hungry by high food prices

18 September 2008The Liberian Government and the United Nations have launched a new school feeding programme in the capital Monrovia for 150,000 children going hungry because of high food prices. Another 400,000 rural school children are already benefiting from joint feeding programmes organized by the Government and the World Food Programme (WFP), according to a press statement issued by the UN agency today.“As the Government of Liberia responds to the impact of high food prices, WFP remains in the forefront of efforts to lessen this impact by working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education to confront the obstacles in achieving universal primary education and to help children in the face of food insecurity,” WFP West Africa Regional Director Thomas Yanga said.Liberia is particularly vulnerable to high global food prices because of its heavy reliance on imports to meet national needs. High rates of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition mean that the poorest people have difficulty coping with food price shocks.The Government has formulated a strategic response aimed at protecting vulnerable groups through safety net interventions such as school feeding, WFP said.In isolated south-eastern counties, low school enrolment and a wide gender gap in upper primary education coincide with high levels of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition. The Government and WFP have responded with a three-year development school feeding project which will run from September 2008 to August 2011 in Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee and Sinoe Counties.

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