CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today marked the first Africa Day of School Feeding at a public school in Cairo.
Actress Hend Sabry, WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, and representatives from the ministries of Social Solidarity and Education also attended celebrations. The African Union has formally recognized school meals as the world’s most widely-used social safety net.
Students at the Al Qawmeyyah Al Arabiya Primary School participated in drawing and collage competitions, and winning groups received prizes from Sabry, a longstanding advocate for WFP’s school feeding activities in Egypt and the region.
“We surely cannot put a price tag on children’s health,” said Sabry, who has visited schools with WFP-supported programmes in Egypt and Tunisia in her role as ambassador.
“However, investing in children’s health and education is a direct investment in any country’s future economy and prosperity.”
The Government of Egypt has said that a national school feeding strategy is a priority on the State’s agenda. The objective is to provide guidance on development and implementation of an expanded national school meals programme that will eventually cover all government schools across the country.
“For the first time in history, an entire continent has come together to recognize the benefits of the world's most widely-used safety net within and beyond the classroom” said Ambassador Hisham Badr, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs, “Food for thought is not only a slogan, but a plan of action linking up Africa’s priority in education and food security, through collaborative efforts” he added.
The Government’s school feeding program has been gradually increased to cover up to 13.5 million children attending pre-primary to secondary schools in government-affiliated schools for the academic year 2015-2016.Egypt’s national priority in that respect is in alignment with global Sustainable Development Goals SDG2 on “Ending Hunger, Achieving Food Security and Improving Nutrition and Promoting Sustainable Agriculture.”
“As we celebrate Mother’s Day in the region this month, it is important to support mothers across the region and the world to help them build a better future for their children and their countries,” said WFP Egypt Country Director Menghestab Haile.
“WFP’s school feeding activities in Egypt also focus on the well-being of the whole family through the child’s involvement in the programme – each child takes home family rations every month -- as well as helping mothers in some governorates start small businesses to increase the family’s income.”
WFP in Egypt supports more than half a million children and their families through school meals projects in the most vulnerable governorates in the country. School meals provide a critical safety net, encourage regular attendance, and are a key investment in millions of people’s futures, local economies and reducing hunger across the globe.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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