The European Union Delegation in The Gambia and UNICEF Gambia have presented two new vehicles to the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), as part of the Building Resilience through Social Transfers (BReST) project. The vehicles were presented to the Executive Director of NaNA, Momodou Cheyassin Phall, at a ceremony held at his offices in Kanifing.
A UNICEF project funded by the European Union, the BReST aims to simultaneously address acute malnutrition and resilience building strategies through cash transfers. The project targets a total of 11,700 beneficiaries, including lactating mothers and children in the North Bank, Central River and Upper River Regions of The Gambia.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, the UNICEF Resident Representative, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, expressed delight in the partnership with EU and government departments, in a drive to address nutrition challenges in The Gambia. Madam Nyanti highlighted that ‘good nutrition lays the groundwork for realizing the rights of every child, and well-nourished children are more likely to survive, grow and learn’. She added that ‘with the adoption of the SDGs, the case for investing in nutrition has never been greater, and UNICEF works to harness political commitment for women’s and children’s nutrition and ensure its central place on the development agenda’. The UNICEF Representative used the opportunity to thank the EU, NaNA and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for the strong partnership, while expressing hope for the successful implementation of the BReST project, for the benefit of children and women in the target regions.
The EU Ambassador to The Gambia, H.E Attila Lajos, shared similar sentiments, stressing on the significance of the project and the impact it can have on the lives of children and women in The Gambia. He shared that the EU is a major financial actor in terms of food and nutrition security, with financial allocations being made towards rural development, territorial planning, sustainable agriculture, and food and nutrition security. This is in response to the efforts to address poor nutrition, which is considered as the ‘single most important threat to the world’s health’ by the World Health Organization. Ambassador Lajos encouraged government ‘to consider investing further in this crucial area to accompany re-development in the country’.
On receiving the keys to the two vehicles, the Executive Director of the National Nutrition Agency, Momodou Cheyassin Phall, thanked UNICEF and the EU for initiating and funding the BReST project. Mr Phall assured the representatives from the two institutions that the vehicles will be put to great use, ensuring the successful implementation of the project. He stressed on the need for intensive interventions on malnutrition, because this determines the state of development of any nation, as it is also liked to the mental and cognitive growth of any individual. Mr Phall renewed his office’s commitment to maintaining strong partnerships in this regard, and shared his hope for significant results from the BReST project, which is expected to run for a period of two years.
The ceremony was attended by representatives and staff of the European Union, UNICEF, and NaNA, as well as media personnel and other well-wishers.