The objectives of evaluating the project «Establishing the Foundation for a Nationally Owned Sustainable School Feeding Programme (DEV 200327) – in The Gambia were to assess and report on the performance of the project for the purposes of accountability and learning. Expected users for this Evaluation Report are the World Food Programme (WFP),1 the Ministry of Basic And Secondary Education (MoBSE) and their partners, including the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and other donors.
The Gambia is a West African country with 2.14 million inhabitants (66% under 25 years of age), with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.452. The Gambia is highly vulnerable to droughts and floods.
Increasing food insecurity that specifically affects rural areas2 and malnutrition are followed by rural poverty (62.1% of households), and 48.63% of the population lives on less than USD 1.25 a day. Developing the food and agriculture sector are priority for the government, and school feeding is mainstreamed in national policies with an option for the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF). Smallholder farmers represent 43.1% of the population, and they make up 22.6% of the economy. They lack access to local markets and are vulnerable to recurrent shocks. Quality of education remains a concern with low retention and completion rates in primary schools4 , low adult literacy, and gender inequality5 in progression along the education system. Due to socio-cultural norms and practices, women and girls continue to be disadvantaged.
International assistance to the government to meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), among other relevant issues, has been provided by various agencies over the past years6 .
In partnership with the government, the WFP started DEV 200327in August 2012, which was jointly funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), the European Union, Canada, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. However, along its 5 years of implementation the project faced multiple budget shortfalls7 .The project8 targeted vulnerable children enrolled in 409 schools9 , including Lower Basic Schools (LBS), madrassas, Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDC’s), and school cooks, in regions 1 to 6 of The Gambia. The main objective was to establish the foundation for a nationally owned and sustainable School Feeding Programme (SFP). Activities and expected results were: 1. capacity development, for a future hand-over; 2. daily school meal operations. The SFP implemented both supply and cash-based transfer (CBT)
SF modalities10 and monthly family take-home rations of 50kg of rice for the cooks.