Tuesday February 5 2013

Karamoja schools to miss lunch after WFP pulls out

By Steven ariong

The World Food Programme’s (WFP) decision to end its feeding project in primary schools in Karamoja will increase the number of dropouts, education officials in the region have said.

Two weeks ago, the organisation circulated letters to authorities in the region informing them of the decision due to lack of funding from donors.

The deputy county director of WFP, Mr Michael Danford, when contacted, confirmed the development but advised the officials and parents to find alternative ways of providing food to the pupils, urging the latter to take the responsibility.

“It is true WFP will not continue with school feeding programmes in Karamoja because of several challenges, including lack of funding,” Mr Danford said.

He said the organisation was still in talks with the government on possible ways of how they can help schools in the region to produce their own food.

Speaking with the Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Paul Abul, the Moroto education officer, said the feeding programme was the only way the schools had managed to attract and retain children.

“The pull out is going to affect school enrolment in the region and there will be massive school dropout,” Mr Abul said, adding that convincing the children to return would be very difficult.

The Kaabong education officer, Mr Simon Peter Odwar, said it would be difficult for parents to provide their children with lunch since some are supported by the organisation.

This newspaper has learnt that most schools that introduced boarding sections will be forced to close due to the withdraw of the support.