Sierra Leone is to receive an increase of US $23 million towards its Country Programme budget. The decision which has been approved by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Board will endeavour to aid some of the country’s most vulnerable, marginalised and malnourished people.
The commitment made by the WFP will bring spending on the new Relief Recovery Operation to US $41 million and it is now the hoped that aid donors will follow in the example of the WFP by contributing towards the on-going programme.
The scheme will also endeavour to act as a safety net for those in agricultural industries through the establishment of its Smallholder Commercialization Programme. It will subsequently highlight the importance of ensuring that there are secure social networks for individuals in the country’s farming sector.
It is estimated that the additional aid will help an additional 132,500 people and will support government agencies by addressing a dynamism of issues especially those pertaining to women and youth in the region. Furthermore, the scheme will aim to highlight the importance of livelihood support by promoting food for work and cash for work programmes.
The funding has been praised by the Honorary Dr. Joseph Sam Sessay, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security who says that, “it is fundamental to economic and specifically agricultural development in Sierra Leone that the cycle of hunger caused by lack of education, malnutrition, and poverty is broken. The provision of safety nets under the Smallholder Commercialization Programme is crucial in this process, and WFP is our most important partner in it”.
The WFP is one of the world’s largest humanitarian agencies and operates in more than 70 countries. Moves by donors to address not simply market interests but also the needs of the African people subsequently continue to demonstration of a shift in policies directed towards the human dimensions of development.
The increase in spending in this respect will be in support of the government’s promising Agenda for Change until the end of 2012 and will provide hope for over 300,000 Sierra Leoneans.