The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with support from Irish Aid on Friday 20th May, 2016 handed over office equipment to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFF) to be distributed to district networks across the country to enable them generate their reports on timely basis.
The items are to be distributed among thirteen districts networks in the country under the National Early Warning System (NEWS). Each district will have a full set desktop computer, printer, cabinet, table and a chair for the proper functioning of the NEWS secretariats.
The NEWS project among other things aims to provide timely and reliable information to enable government, development partners and the affected population to take effective action to preventing or reducing food and nutrition security risk and prepare for effective response. The project has trained District Rapid Response Teams across the country using multi-sectorial approach where by actors relevant to food and nutrition security are part of the networks.
Partnership in promoting nutrition and food security
The FAO Representative (a.i) David Mwesigwa expressed the satisfaction of the organization to collaborate with MAFFS to establish networks across the country to enable food and nutrition security activities be implemented at decentralized level.
“The handing over of the office equipment is a symbolism to show that there are lots of activities ongoing and more are on the pipeline in our effort to promote nutrition and food security”, Mr. Mwesigwa stated.
He noted that the equipment are startup kits to enable the district networks carry out their operations effectively. He encouraged the district councils to take ownership of the process to ensure sustainable even after the end of donor support.
The representative of Irish Aid, Eimear Murphy also expressed delight on behalf of her organization for being part of a process gearing towards the promotion of nutrition and food security. She encouraged the district networks to utilize the equipment for the required purposes as they will be monitoring their operations from time to time.
Receiving the equipment on behalf of the district networks, the National Project Coordinator and Deputy Director of Planning Evaluation Monitoring and Statistics Division in MAFFS, Mohamed Ajuba Sheriff acknowledged that the office equipment are very essential to the operations of the district networks which among other things are to collect and disseminate vital information on food and nutrition security trends in a timely manner to mitigate emergencies.
“The NEWS activities are at the centre of our ministry’s operations as the data collected helps the government in proper planning and responses”.
He is optimistic that the equipment will greatly help the district networks in the proper collection and analysis of data.
Priorities of the NEWS project
The NEWS project mainly focuses on establishing a functional technical team of national and district level human resources; developing tools for collection, analysis and dissemination of vital early warning information for timely response to food and nutrition insecurity in a targeted manner; contributing to the generation of the body of knowledge on local perceptions and dynamics of food and nutrition insecurity in Sierra Leone to improve programming and decision making; and developing a NEWS structure that is capable of collecting, analyzing and utilizing the information generated by the Early Warning System to key decision makers and the general population at national and sub-national levels to ensure timely response to address identified risks to food and nutrition security.
The project has trained 143 government staff (11 from each district) on data collection, analysis and report writing skills to enable them monitor trigger indicators of Food and Nutrition Security at district level. The equipment will greatly ease their operations.