Food Distribution Kicks Off in Southeast, Central Liberia

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Some of the beneficiaries of the food distribution

Citizens and residents of Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties in the southeast and Bong County in central Liberia last week began receiving COVID-19 Household Food Support Programme (COHFSP) food packages for use by their households. The food distribution exercise kicked off in the three counties, aimed at reaching more than 87,000 households, including nearly 17,000 in Grand Gedeh, about 26,000 in Maryland and close to 45,000 in Bong.

   COHFSP food package distribution—comprising 50 kg rice, one gallon of vegetable oil, and about 30 cups of beans per household—was rolled out in Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties involving civil society organizations, local authorities, community leaders and beneficiaries. Led by Caritas Cape Palms as implementing or cooperating partner of the World Food Programme (WFP), the distribution is also supported by a local community-based organization, the Southeast Women Development Association (SEWODA), in close collaboration with a group of district youth associations and volunteer movements across the county.

   “The food distribution basket was timely for the recipients, as they were all happy, lauding the government of Liberia for the kind gesture. Distribution has been done in all communities in Harper, and 5,102 households have been served. Also, 255 metric tons (mt) of rice, 51 mt of pulses, and 23 mt of oil, comprising a total of 329 mt of commodities served. Similar good work is ongoing in Grand Gedeh,” said Caritas Cape Palmas Programme Officer, Waidi Bobo.

   Bobo said the distribution has its accompanying challenges, which Caritas Cape Palmas has so far ably managed. “The main challenge of the programme resides in the fact that not all households that have been enumerated were selected as beneficiaries. Sometimes it takes long-hour discussion to convince community dwellers about the selection process,” he added. He then stressed the need for adequate community-level sensitization to properly inform beneficiaries about the selection criteria so that they become aware that the food is not for everybody but for the most food-insecure households.

    At the same time, Caritas Gbarnga, the local NGO partner of the World Food Programme (WFP) implementing the food distribution in Bong County, said the distribution targets the most vulnerable or most food-insecure households in the 13 administrative districts of the county. Caritas Gbarnga Regional Coordinator, Anthony B. Roberts, said his organization is in strong collaboration with 13 civil society organizations (CSOs) of the county, with one CSO operating in each district to enhance swift delivery and transparency as a way of decentralizing the distribution process so that local Liberian institutions are fully involved.

   A Bong County beneficiary said the COHFSP food packages were a stitch in time for her, considering the difficulty she encounters daily to put a meal on the family table. Mamie Sackie, 30, of Gbarnga expressed both gratitude and happiness. “I feel good and I appreciate what government is doing for us. It’s very hard for us to get food like this. If somebody surprises you, you’ve got to appreciate it.” 

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