USDA: Ambassador's remarks USDA McGovernDole Launch
Monsieur le Ministre de l’Éducation nationale,
Monsieur le Gouverneur de la région de Dakar,
Monsieur le Gouverneur de la région de Kolda,
Monsieur le Gouverneur de la région de Sédhiou,
Madame, la conseillère aux affaires agricoles du Département de l’Agriculture des Etats-Unis,
Madame, la Représentante de Counterpart Internationale,
Mesdames, Messieurs, les Représentants des différents ministères,
Mesdames, Messieurs, les Représentants des organisations internationales,
Mesdames, Messieurs, les Représentants des organisations locales,
Mesdames, Messieurs, les Représentants de l’association de parents d’élèves,
Mesdames, Messieurs, les Représentants du secteur privé,
Mesdames, Messieurs, les Représentants des médias,
Mesdames, Messieurs, en vos grades, titres et qualités,
Thank you for the honor and pleasure of being with you today.
Partnership – it’s a word that underscores all the work the United States does in Senegal.
It means that Senegal’s success is our success, and that Senegal’s success comes from investing the health, education, well-being, and prosperity of the Senegalese people.
And it is an acknowledgement that we can achieve so much more when we work together to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.
That’s why I’m so proud to announce the launch of this new McGovern-Dole Food for Education project, which wouldn’t be possible without the support of our friends at the Ministry of National Education and at Counterpart International.
This program is a terrific example of how the long history of partnership between the people of Senegal and the United States continues to pay dividends today.
The project, called Sukaabe Janngo II, is a five-year, nearly 16 billion CFA school feeding program for 285 elementary and preschools in rural Sedhiou and Kolda.
And it builds on the critical work we have been doing through the McGovern-Dole program, which has served more than 20 million hot, nutritious meals to nearly 70,000 children here in Senegal during the past four years alone.
Sukaabe Janngo II, which means “Tomorrow’s Child” in Puular, has an important goal – to improve the academic performance of students while also improving their nutrition and health.
Thanks to this program, nearly 80,000 Senegalese children will receive healthy, filling meals every school day, part of our shared effort to build prosperity in Senegal, one healthy, educated child at a time.
Evidence clearly shows that having enough food is key to a child’s education, and this makes school-provided meals a key tool for improving student attendance and performance while decreasing dropout rates.
While this project is focused on feeding children, there are also significant economic advantages for local farmers and other food producers, from whom we will purchase cornmeal and vegetables for the 285 schools participating in the feeding program.
These purchases will bring more than 625 million CFA in revenue to the Kolda and Sedhiou economies.
And so, this project isn’t only about feeding children, it’s about helping communities and building a prosperous and dynamic future for all Senegalese.
The United States, as well as our partners in the Ministry of National Education, are focused on building that future by creating sustainable systems that will long outlast this five-year project.
Through this project, we are working with stakeholders from the education, health, and agriculture sectors at every level to improve school infrastructure, increase access to safe drinking water, and provide professional development opportunities for Senegalese teachers.
Along with good food, Senegalese children need good teachers and good schools in order to grow, learn, and succeed.
Please allow me to take this moment to give special thanks to the people who are making this success possible.
The many teachers, school administrators, dedicated civil servants at the Ministry of National Education, and the thousands of women who will work so hard to prepare the children’s meals, tend to the school gardens, and do all the work necessary to make sure schoolchildren are well-fed.
It’s an enormous workload, and my embassy colleagues and I are enormously grateful for their dedication and hard work.
I also want to thank our partners at Counterpart International, who are doing fantastic work to establish school canteens throughout the country and ensure the children of Senegal have enough to eat.
I’m deeply grateful to the Counterpart International team for their passion and commitment.
During my time in Senegal, I have experienced the generous Teranga hospitality of the Senegalese people, including many delicious meals that included more food than I could ever eat by myself.
The McGovern-Dole program offers us a way to emulate Senegal’s generous spirit, while providing food to children who need it most and building a brighter future for all of Senegal.
Thank you again for joining me for this very important occasion and thank you for your partnership and the important work you do every day.
Thank you and have a wonderful day.