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As classrooms around the developing world begin to re-open, the U.N. World Food Programme is receiving US$119 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide school meals in five countries in Asia and Africa.
“Yet again, USDA demonstrates real leadership in reaching school-age children in the developing world with proper nutrition. In many countries, school meals are the only food some children receive each day, so we are enormously grateful for USDA’s support,” says Jon Brause, the director of WFP’s Washington office.
The United States provides school meals funding through a competitive award process managed annually by USDA’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.
The latest awards, which take effect this month, see WFP’s programmes in Cote d’Ivoire, Laos, Nepal and Rwanda receiving US$25 million each, while WFP’s programme in Bangladesh will receive US$19 million.
The awards, in cash and in kind, enable WFP to feed about 841,000 children under agreements of three to five years. This amounts to an important bridge for these five governments, giving them temporary support until they can establish their own sustainable, national school feeding programs.
McGovern-Dole has provided meals to classrooms in the developing world since 2003, contributing significantly to students’ learning, health and nutrition. It has long been one of WFP’s largest funding sources for school feeding activities, including take-home rations when schools have closed due to Covid-19. Nearly 370 million children missed out on school meals so far this year, including 13 million receiving WFP ones.
“This support is yet another testament to the strength of WFP’s school feeding activities worldwide – and it comes at a critical time,” says Carmen Burbano, WFP’s Rome-based director of School Feeding.
WFP’s school feeding programmes span 61 countries and are a key social safety net for poor and vulnerable households. In 2019, WFP provided school meals to 17.3 million schoolchildren, and helped governments reach an additional 39 million children.
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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).