Feeding Programme Halt Disrupts Learning

The sudden withdrawal of the School Feeding Program in Eastern Equatoria State primary schools has reduced retention of children in schools in the Greater Kapoeta counties.

The State Minister of Education, Science and Technology Michael Lopuke Lotyam told the press that the move that was taken late last month by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has put learning in jeopardy, especially in Kapoeta East County.

He also lamented that the organisations did not consult the state authorities of their intended action on time.

“Nearly half of the children in about 47 schools in the Greater Kapoeta and Ikotos County have been affected by the move and as a result the children stay at home”, he said.

He reiterated that the issue has been brought to the attention of the state government as an emergency and added that the government has dispatched 100 bags of grains in response to help the situation for at least three weeks pending a strategy by the government.

“The government of the state has discussed and reached an agreement with the World Food Programme and they have expressed readiness to re-support the program in order to combat the biting hunger and to allow smooth learning in schools”, said Lotyam.

The Minister appealed to humanitarian organisations to intervene as soon as they can to arrest the situation.

Two weeks ago the minister made a familiarisation meeting with development partners in the education sector where they discussed a broad plan to develop good linkage between the State Ministry of Education and NGOs operating in the sector.

While CRS formerly served in the Greater Torit, especially in Ikotos County, WFP formerly served in the Greater Kapoeta counties.

Apart from CRS and WFP, the other humanitarian organisations supporting education in the state are: Caritas Switzerland, the Catholic Diocese of Torit and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) among others.

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