The spread of COVID-19 in Senegal is increasingly deteriorating livelihoods and inducing a food crisis across the country and in the Saint-Louis region, Counterpart’s target zone. With schools closed since mid-March and school feeding activities halted in Senegal, Counterpart has adapted its interventions in the country within the context of COVID-19 to support the response efforts of the Government of Senegal (GoS). These efforts include the development of a national strategy that incorporates a food distribution campaign to support vulnerable households and mitigate food security risks.
Through the Ministry of National Education (MEN), Counterpart is providing take-home ration food for one month to families of target students in Saint-Louis to mitigate food shortages due to the pandemic.
A total of 666,985 tons of commodities (grains and vegetables with high nutritional value) will be distributed to 26,000 households in the Saint-Louis region. Each household will receive 10kg of fortified rice, 5kg of millet, 5kg of processed millet products (arraw, thiakri, sanqual, couscous) and 10kg of legumes (lentils, peas, or cowpeas). Distribution will continue through the end of July 2020.
With support from the local government, Counterpart held a take-home ration distribution kick-off event for over 47,000 students. The event took place at Counterpart’s central warehouse located in Thillé Boubacar in the department of Podor on June 26, 2020.
Several local stakeholders attended the kick-off event and supported the on-going rations distribution, including the Administrator of the Thillé Boubacar Arrondissement, Mohamed Al Amine Fall; Podor Education and Training Inspector, Mamour Cissé; and the head doctor of the Podor Sanitary department, Mame Diarra Diallo Sow.
“This food aid of 666,985 tons of grains and vegetables with high nutritional value will facilitate the improvement of the nutrition and health of beneficiaries students in Saint-Louis,” said Mohamed Al Amine Fall, the Administrator of Thillé Boubacar.
“This distribution aims to support the country of Senegal in its actions on behalf of the people, at a time when the world is facing the coronavirus pandemic,” said Amadou Souaré, head of the ‘Sukaabe Janngo’ (Children of Tomorrow) program.
Counterpart intends to ensure that students remain healthy and eat regularly, despite the on-going COVID-19 crisis. Take-home ration distribution is being directed through methods put in place by the Senegalese government, ensuring distribution is safe and does not further the spread of the virus. Recipient households also receive hygiene products, including hand sanitizers and protective masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Counterpart International has been implementing a school feeding and nutrition program in Saint-Louis, Senegal since October 2018. This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and comprises the Suukabe Janngo (Children of Tomorrow) and TACSS (Transition de l’Alimentation dans les Cantines Scolaires au Sénégal) projects.