Hope for starving Liberian pupils

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The rising price of food has left many children in Liberia starving as their parents battle to secure a livelihood. But it has been a big relief for parents in Monrovia as the government and the United Nations have launched a new school feeding programme that will carter for at least 150,000 children.

According to a press statement issued by the UN agency, Children will be fed in school twice a day, to the relieve of their parents. Also another 400,000 rural school children will be benefiting from joint feeding programmes organized by the Government and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Liberia is particularly easily affected by high global food prices because of its heavy dependence on imports to meet national needs. High rates of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition means that the poorest population will face difficulties dealing with the food price shocks but the Government has created a strategic response aimed at protecting vulnerable population groups through safety net interventions such as school feeding, WFP has reported.

WFP also claims that they will remain in the forefront of efforts to reduce the impact of rising food prices by working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education to confront the obstacles in achieving universal primary education and to help children in the face of food insecurity,

In less populated south-eastern regions of Liberia, low school enrolment and a wide gender gap in upper primary education coincide with high levels of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.The Liberian Government and WFP have has however, responded with a three-year development school feeding project which will run from September 2008 to August 2011 in Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee and Sinoe regions of the country.

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