Iceland and the World Food Program (WFP) are joining forces to revolutionize school meals and empower local women farmers in Sierra Leone.

The partnership aims to bolster food security, improve children’s health, and promote sustainable development in the Bonthe District.

The initiative will focus on empowering women farmers by providing them with comprehensive training, essential supplies, and a guaranteed market for their crops. Approximately 1,140 women farmers will benefit from this program, which seeks to enhance their livelihoods and contribute to local economic growth.

Dubbed the “Home-Grown School Meals” program, this ambitious endeavor will target 136 schools in the Bonthe District. Local farmers will cultivate fresh vegetables and nutrient-rich orange-fleshed sweet potatoes specifically for these schools, diversifying the range of nutritious foods available to students.

To ensure sustainability, woodlots will be established to provide a renewable source of cooking fuel, reducing reliance on firewood and mitigating deforestation. Additionally, funding will be allocated to construct or upgrade kitchens and storage facilities in 136 schools, benefiting approximately 1,500 students.

As part of the program, locally-sourced fish will be integrated into the school meal menu once a week in eight schools, further enriching the nutritional value of meals provided to students.

By prioritizing nutritious meals, the initiative aims to enhance children’s health and concentration levels, ultimately leading to improved attendance and academic performance. Simultaneously, women farmers will acquire valuable skills and access to a stable market for their produce, thereby boosting their incomes and fostering local development.

This collaborative effort aligns with Sierra Leone’s “Feed Salone” program and its National School Feeding Policy, promoting locally-sourced food production to strengthen food security and benefit communities economically and socially.

The partnership between Iceland and WFP represents a beacon of hope for the Bonthe District, serving as a model for sustainable school feeding programs worldwide. By integrating education, economic empowerment, and environmental responsibility, this initiative promises to transform lives and safeguard the future of generations to come.