CORRIDOR 17 - The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the World Food Programme officially handed over three hydroponic gardens to three schools in the Omaheke region recently valued at N$350 000.
The establishment of gardens to Chief Sophia Jacobs Primary School, Omuhaturua Primary School and Mokganedi Thlabanello High School is aimed at supplementing the government’s school feeding programme and the attainment of zero hunger in the region.
Accepting the donation, education minister Anna Nghipondoka said the school feeding programme has expanded, now feeding over 430 000 learners countrywide, up from 78 000 in 1996.
“To this end, I would like to acknowledge the very important support to our school feeding programme which has been provided by WFP, UNICEF, bilateral agencies, private sector and the business fraternity. I count on your continued support to assist the ministry and our government in our unending commitment to ensure that in Namibia, no learner is deprived of education and healthy nutritious food,” said Nghipondoka.
Speaking at the same event, UNICEF country representative Rachel Odede said their mandate is to ensure that all children grow and develop to their full potential, and thus they support innovative ways of addressing malnutrition in Namibia.
“Recent global reports indicate to us that more than 250 million of the world’s undernourished live in Africa. The situation is the same in Namibia, with one in four children who are stunted nationally. The numbers are even worse among the marginalised communities, with two in three of the San children reported to be stunted,” she said.
Also speaking during the occasion was the WFP representative Elvis Odeke, who said that through the partnership with the ministry of education, they will continue to support and promote better diets and nutrition that will bring diversity to school meals.
“WFP pledges to continue working closely with you, to see to it that we promote initiatives that will bring diversity to school meals, integrate health and nutrition in schools, and promote food and nutrition security while supporting the acceleration towards the achievement of zero hunger,” said Odeke.
Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate thanked WFP and UNICEF, saying the donated gardens will instil the crop production culture in the minds of the people of Omaheke who depends mainly on livestock farming.
“As such, allow me ladies and gentlemen, to applaud UNICEF and WFP for having thought of our region and for making this a reality. Believe me when I say that this noble gesture is the beginning of many things to come. Thank you for extending this opportunity to Omaheke,” he said.
The donated school gardens will benefit over 1 300 learners and teachers from the three schools and their immediate communities.