Sodexo chef visits the Gambia in mission to support school cooks

David Mulcahy, Sodexo UK & Ireland’s Food Innovation & Sustainability Director, Schools & Universities, recently returned from a week-long Stop Hunger YEAH! Mission1 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 David 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, David 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.

It was important for David to visit the community school kitchens to better understand the basic tools and resources available to the women preparing the school children’s meals every day.

Following his return to the UK, David 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.

David 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.

Thanks to the financial support of Sodexo, 100% of the donations made to Stop Hunger go directly to financing activities and sustainable solutions for a hunger free world.

The UK&I Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation contributes to Sodexo’s corporate responsibility commitment, Better Tomorrow 2025 which aligns to the Sustainable Development Goals designed by the UN to make the world a fairer and more equal place.