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Sodexo's David Mulcahy (third from left) with representatives from Bassick Lower Basic School, local government and the World Food Programme

Sodexo on a mission to support school cooks in the Gambia

Sodexo UK & Ireland’s Food Innovation & Sustainability Director, Schools & Universities, David Mulcahy, recently returned from a week-long Stop Hunger YEAH! Mission in the Gambia.

This skills-based volunteering mission, organised in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), aims to provide valuable culinary training for school cooks in the Gambia and neighbouring countries.

The trip took Mulcahy to four schools supported by WFP’s school meals programme. These included Nyakoi Lower Basic School (LBS), Wassu LBS, Santanto LBS, and Bassick LBS. At each, Mulcahy met with key personnel including government representatives, WFP teams, head teachers, teaching staff, school cooks and members of Food Management Committees, through which he gained valuable insight into the challenges faced by the local communities. These meetings highlighted the critical role of collaboration in addressing food insecurity.

Following his return to the UK, Mulcahy will be working with Sodexo colleagues from across Europe and WFP teams to further develop learning modules with the objective to scale up the training across the Gambia and then neighbouring countries.

The comprehensive training will be specifically designed to support local school cooks. It will cover essential topics, such as cooking and food serving skills, local menu planning with consideration to seasonal availability, ingredients, consumer preference and nutrition requirements, as well as effective kitchen equipment handling across cooking activities.

Mulcahy said: “The warmth and generosity of the people I met has left a lasting impression on me. Despite facing profound challenges, their spirit and determination to overcome adversity was inspiring.

“The opportunity to contribute to such a meaningful cause aligns with my longstanding commitment to supporting communities in need. As a trustee of the Stop Hunger Foundation and having worked closely with various charities over the years, I was deeply inspired by the prospect of helping to make a difference in The Gambia.”

Stop Hunger is the unique philanthropic cause of Sodexo, with the mission to fight against hunger and food insecurity by empowering women and younger generations for a better future. Since 2014, Stop Hunger has worked in partnership with WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian organisation working to end hunger, as part of their shared mission to achieve zero hunger. To date, Sodexo volunteers have supported over 20 WFP Country Offices with expertise.

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