13 June 2019

Liberia: Amb. Ajisomo Underscores Importance of School Feeding Program

-- Says it makes child education attractive, desirable

Ambassador Babatunde Olanrewaju Ajisomo, Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, has stressed the need for government to reintroduce the Home-Grown School Feeding Program, which he said has a critical role to play in making education of the child attractive and desirable.

"It is important that government, the World Food Program, and all stakeholders do everything possible to ensure the success of the Home-Grown School Feeding Program, because it strengthens the education capacity of the children through nutrition, and development of children's mental capacity for learning," Ajisomo said.

He said it is therefore important that citizens themselves take ownership of the program to drive it successfully, and derive maximum benefits in the overall interest of the country.

Amb. Ajisomo made these remarks on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at celebrations marking the observance of World Day Against Child Labor held in the courtyard of the Ministry of Labor in Monrovia.

The Global theme for this year's celebration is "Children Should Not Work in Field, But on Dreams," while the national theme is, "Prioritize Children Dreams through Quality Education."

With these themes, Amb. Ajisomo said that one critical area worthy in academic terrain is the need to look inward to sustain this "laudable program by providing school meals and the entire feeding regime must be less dependent on food importation to develop the national economy."

In addition, he said that the huge foreign exchange that may be used to import food items may well be spent locally to improve the standard of education, quality of life and create employment in Liberia.

Amb. Ajisomo recommitted ECOWAS' continued support to work closely with the Liberian government partners to ensure the development of the children's dreams through quality education.

In this connection, he said ECOWAS will gladly place its radio at the disposal of the Ministry of Labor in its campaign to eliminate child labor in all its ramifications, and facilitate the achievement of this year's theme, "Develop Children's Dreams through Quality Education."

Labor Minister Moses Y. Kollie, said President George Weah has given serious attention to demonstrating political will by coordinating governmental support to issues and processes associated with combating child labor in the country.

Ms. Patience Heah, national coordinator of the National Commission on Child Labor, said that as Liberia moves on the path of sustainable development, there is a need to include stakeholders to achieve Alliance 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls for states to take immediate, and effective measures to eradicate force labor, end modern slavery, as well as human trafficking by 2030. And also secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025, end child labor in all its forms.

Ms. Heah said that Liberia has accentuated her efforts in addressing child labor issues by the formulation of several policies and national framework documents, which call for coordination to meet its goals.

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