In light of its mandate to reduce poverty and eradicate hunger globally by working across sectors, newly appointed Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has reached out to the local Education sector.

This saw the FAO Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith, yesterday engaging Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, on measures to strengthen and transform the national school feeding programme.

In recent times, as part of the school feeding programme, the local Ministry of Education has partnered with FAO towards a more structured outcome.

As part of yesterday’s self-orientation exercise, Dr. Smith and Minister Henry discussed a range of issues regarding the FAO’s work in Guyana, with the main focus on the ongoing efforts of the Education Ministry to address the issue of hunger.The Jamaican, Dr. Smith, who proudly spoke of her Guyanese heritage, dubbed the discussions as “very fruitful.” She noted that the FAO has been and will continue to provide needed support to the Ministry of Education and by extension the Government of Guyana for the benefit of its populace.

Through the interface, Minister Henry informed Dr. Smith about the works and human and structural development programmes which the Education Ministry executes. School feeding was identified a priority for Government as reflected in the 2019 budgetary allocations.

“We [the FAO] work to promote and support the country programme and we are looking for key areas to continue the work that we do while contributing to the development of education and food security in Guyana,” said Dr. Smith.

To this, Minister Henry promised the FAO representative to facilitate pathways for networking with the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ms. Adele Clarke, to share the Ministry’s transformational vision aimed at strengthening and expansion of various programmes among other subject matters.

Dr. Smith recognised that programmes such as School Feeding is extremely important to Guyana even as she commended Minister Henry for being a champion for the cause.

According to Dr. Smith, “School feeding programmes can be really transformational in the development of the human capital of a country as this ensures that children have proper nutrition which allows them to have better cognitive results and learning outcomes.”

Additionally, she noted that her organisation knows that school feeding programmes provide a real opportunity for children to understand nutrition education which is key to tackling issues of Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs).


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