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American Ambassador Visits Food for Education Program

His excellency Robert Jackson, The US Ambassador to Cameroon, paid a cordial visit to the USDA funded McGovern-Dole Food For Education program in Bui Division.

The program in 20th months,  put smiles on the faces of over 18,000 primary school children in 75 villages in Bui division, established 50 school gardens and built 50 kitchens and latrines.

After a brief meeting with the program staff at the Nascent headquarters in Kumbo, Mbabu Nseh, in April. Ambassador Jackson proceeded to Nseh where he was warmly received by the managers of participating schools and the community at large.

The implementation of the Food For Education program presentation by Counterpart International’s Cameroon Country Director, highlighted achievements, such as the great increase in school enrollment for boys (45%), and comparatively strong improvements in enrollment for girls (34%), increasing trends in school attendance for boys and girls and positive attitude and behavioral changes in the pupils.

The Country Director noted the crucial role that components such as the school kitchens, food stores and latrines; and continued community mobilization and education, play towards making a happy, healthy, self reliant youth. He also announced to everyone’s delight, the approval of a one-year, no cost extension of the program, and efforts that are being made to obtain approval for a second phase, which will possibly be extended to the North and East provinces of Cameroon.

Ambassador Jackson proved a very engaging guest and in conversation after the presentation, initiated a discussion on the need to improve the hardscrabble school facilities to accommodate as best as possible the increase in enrollment.

Ambassador Jackson visited and toured the Government School at Mbabu Nseh, where he was met with much celebration and fanfare by students and PTA members from Mbabu Nseh and other schools in the region, and received the honorary title of “nformi”, or War Leader, from the Chief of Nseh. The US envoy also presided over The Best School Garden Award ceremony, helping in the distribution of farm tools to participants and certificates and awards to the winners.  He capped his visit with a heartfelt expression of appreciation to Counterpart International and Nascent Solutions program staff, local PTAs, traditional rulers and the active community for continued and continuing efforts, which have borne real and positive results.