Food for thought

29-10-2014 12:36 AM

Mary Fikry- Nariman Yanni

The Italian-Egyptian Debt for Development Swap Programme and the World Food Programme (WFP) have successfully completed their “Food for Education” initiative to reduce vulnerability to hunger and enhance nutrition and education.
The five-year project, launched in 2009 in the governorates of Fayoum, Minya and Beni Sweif, provided children with daily, nutritious snacks at school that helped increase the concentration level of students and provided 25 per cent of their daily nutritional needs. The project also encouraged parents to enrol their children, especially girls, in schools, by providing an incentive in the form of 10kg of rice and other commodities as a monthly take-home ration to the families of children regularly attending school.

“Italy has been supporting school feeding efforts in Egypt for the last 10 years, with a contribution amounting to approximately USD15 million. School Feeding provides both educational and health benefits to the most vulnerable children in Egypt,” said H.E. Maurizio Massari, Ambassador of Italy to Egypt. “Enrollment rates increase, absenteeism decreases and food security at the household level improves,” he said.
Teachers, children and parents were also part of various nutritional educational activities, another aspect to the joint project. A notable outcome of the Food For Education initiative is the development of a national preschool nutrition education curriculum and a teachers’ training programme that have been adopted by the Ministry of Education.

“WFP supports the Government of Egypt in its efforts to improve access and quality of education and in the provision of much-needed safety nets for the most vulnerable populations. Community schools are particularly important in attracting children, especially girls, into the education system. Although the project is closing, these children will continue to receive the same support from the government and from WFP through alternative funding sources,” explained Lubna Alaman, WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt.

Watani International
28 October 2014

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