NYAMAGABE — Four primary schools in Kibumbwe in Nyamagabe district have received an assortment of farm and sports equipments donated by the World Food Programme (WFP).
The items that included hoes, rakes, shovels, pitchforks and wheelbarrows, were handed over on Wednesday October 8. The sports equipment included footballs, volleyballs and nets and air pumps.
The four recipient schools, Bwemba, Gakanka, Kibumbwe and Kinyana are among those benefiting from the WFP school feeding programme-aimed at improving school attendance and retention of pupils especially orphans and other vulnerable children.
Similar agricultural and sports equipment was distributed to 24 primary schools from seven Sectors in the district in September.
Handing over the equipment to district and school authorities, the WFP Country Director, Ahmed Zakaria said that the items were geared at supporting government’s efforts to promote the education Sector which is a pillar of development.
“World Food Programme is supportive of Government efforts in the education Sector and will continue to do everything within its means to support this Sector,” said Zakaria, adding that support to education cannot be compared to any other because it is the future of the country.
Zakaria commended local communities in which the project operates, saying it’s them who have ensured its success.
He said that a comprehensive plan for community development activities was in the offing and called for team work to support the education of children.
The farm tools will help in preparation of school gardens during the October –December rainy season-so as to plant nutritious mixed vegetables and fruits to supplement WFP food assistance.
Similar support has yielded fruit in other schools supported by WFP. At Murama Primary School, the school harvested tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, bananas, pineapples and sweet potatoes this year.
“We want to assist schools through their parents’ committees and local communities initiate self sustenance of the school feeding programme. This is to ensure continuity of the programme even when World Food Programme food support ends,” said Zakaria.
The feeding programme composed of posho and beans benefits 300,000 primary school children in 300 schools in the most food –insecure areas of the country.
According to Nyamagabe Mayor, Alphonse Munyantwali, Kibumbwe Sector, one of the poorest sectors in the district had a school drop out rate of 25 percent.
However, the midday meal has managed to reduce the drop out trend.
“After the introduction of the school feeding programme, the drop out rate has dropped to just 2 percent,” said Mayor Munyantwali.
The Mayor urged parents through the parents’ committees to use the newly acquired tools to grow food for their children.
“This programme will not last forever. The onus now lies on you to begin planning how you will continue feeding your children because they will not quit school after the programme has closed shop,” said the Mayor.
WFP intends to hand over the school feeding responsibilities gradually to the government from next year and to phase it out in 2012.