CRS Secures Funds From UsDA McGovern Dole Project On School Feeding


By Nelson Manneh

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) informs that it has secured a $28 million project from UsDA McGovern Dole on school feeding.

 Jennifer Overton, CRS’ Regional Director for West Africa, said the school feeding program is a five year program starting in the year 2023, and will help improve the literacy, health and nutrition outcomes of four target regions of The Gambia.

She said CRS along with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and other partners, will implement the school feeding program in 186 schools in the Central River, Upper River, North Bank and Kanifing regions.

“The project is funded through the USDA McGovern Dole initiative for a total amount of $28 million for a period of five years with the possibility of an extension,” she said. She said school feeding has been a part of this country’s landscape for decades. She said the project will be implemented in partnership with the MoBSE, Caritas Gambia, and Future in Our Hands-The Gambia (F1OHTG].

“We want to reiterate our deepest gratitude to the US Government for these generous resources, which is a gift from the American people,” she said.

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been working in The Gambia since 1954. Over the decades, CRS Gambia has provided emergency relief to vulnerable communities and strengthened food security by tackling malnutrition; enhanced health responses and provided education opportunities for children and their families.

In 2002, CRS became the first NGO in the country to initiate a comprehensive home care and support program for people living with HV.

The program was a success and brought to scale at the national level. In 2014, it became the first NGO in the Gambia to implement the Seasonal Malaria Chemo-prevention (SMC) project.

CRS continues to work towards the goal of achieving new zero malaria infections in partnership with the Ministry of Health, with support from Global Fund to Fight AlDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the Korea International Cooperation Agency support.

“We have operated in the country for over 50 years, and with our recent projects that is aligned with our 2020-2024 strategic vision for The Gambia, we have specific focus on the following areas of intervention: livelihoods and landscapes; health and development; peace building and social cohesion; youth jobs and leadership, and humanitarian responses,” she said.

CRS Regional Director for West Africa said in 2022, CRS helped establish 105 new savings groups in 49 villages in Central River Region North, with the Agency for Village Support (AVISU) on Health.

“From 2017 to date, we have distributed 2.3 million mosquito nets targeting pregnant women and children to prevent malaria transmission. We have also reached close to half a million households with health messages about how to prevent people from getting malaria” she said.

She said CRS distributes malaria prevention medicines nationwide and in 2022, it reached more than 20,000 children in Upper River and Central River Regions.

“These health services are implemented by Caritas Gambia, the Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC), and Health Promotion and Development Organization (HPOO] and the National Malaria Control Program in the MoH,” she said.

On Youth Employment, Ms. Overton said CRS supported the Presentation Girls Vocation School (PGVS) to train 570 vulnerable female students with vocational skills, to earn a decent living and helped to build the capacity of the school by raising additional funds and improve their record keeping and financial management.

“Through our peace building programme, we reached a total of 6,610 direct participants and more than 100, 000 indirect participants from communities, to learn about how to increase greater cohesion and maintain peace, by bringing people together from different faiths and backgrounds,” she said.

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