The Community Pre-school of the coastal village of Gunjur is the latest among a host of beneficiaries in the country to benefit from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) Telefood project that is designed to improve the livelihoods of poor families. Unlike others who benefited from vegetable gardens, the village of Gunjur through its Community Preschool, benefited from poultry project that was launched on Thursday in the area.
The Gunjur Telefood school poultry project is financed at the tune of US$3,912, equivalent to D111, 492 for a period of one year. The Telefood project, which has among its goals to improve the livelihoods of poor families by enhancing agricultural production, as well as generating income for the beneficiaries, has since helped in enhancing poverty reduction strides.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the assistant FAO representative in charge of programmes, Mariatou Njie, said the global Food Organisation's mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural population and contribute to the growth of the world economy.
She explained that the Telefood programme is FAO's global initiative to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity. The programme, she added, is an effort to mobilise resources for hundreds of hunger-fighting projects, noting that it is one of the responses to the 1996 World Food Summit's call to action to eradicate hunger.
"Since the establishment of the Telefood campaign in 1997," Njie disclosed, "many have supported the initiative." She disclosed that the Telefood initiative was first launched in The Gambia in 1998, and that the country benefited considerably from the funds allocated for the programme. Madam Njie further revealed that about 60 Telefood projects have been approved and implemented in The Gambia including the one launched in Gunjur.
The FAO representative went on to remark: "The poultry production Telefood project we are launching today will benefit the community of Gunjur, teachers and more importantly the children who attend the school. The purpose of this poultry production project in the school is to help enhance sustainable income generation for long term development of the school, for it will be an opportunity to introduce the children and their parents, to develop their interest in agriculture, particularly small scale poultry farming." Mariatou Njie then commended the head teacher and his colleagues at the Gunjur Community Pre-school for the inovative role they have played in the formulation of the project.
The head teacher of the school, Kaduba Bojang, commended FAO for responding to their proposal. He underscored that the projectwas initiated about four to five months ago and will go a long way in enhancing agriculture at the grassroots level. The alkalo of Gunjur, Sulayman Touray, thanked FAO for the kind gesture, while praying that the project meets its objectives.
The Village Development Committee chairman, Demba Jobe Touray, pledged his commitment to work with the school to achieve the desired objectives. He commended FAO for their response to food security in the community.