The European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in close coordination with the Ministry of Education, today start the rehabilitation of 3,500 one-classroom community schools. This two-year initiative will cover 16 governorates across Egypt and aims to reach 1,500 schools by the end of 2016.
The rehabilitation project is part of a €60 million EU grant to fund a four-year school feeding programme implemented by WFP. The programme, “Enhancing Access to Education and Fighting Child Labour”, was launched in July 2014 and benefits 100,000 children, particularly girls, along with 400,000 family members.
“Through this programme, the EU is contributing to the ongoing efforts to tackle some of the most critical issues affecting Egypt’s poorest children: undernutrition, access to quality education, and stopping child labour,” said Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt Ambassador James Moran. Through the programme, the EU is providing incentives for children to attend school.
The programme provides children with a nutritious school snack (date bar) that covers 25 percent of their daily nutritional needs. The parents also receive a monthly ration of 10 kg of rice and 1 litre of oil to encourage them to send their children to school. The ration covers the monthly wages a child would earn if she/he were sent to work instead of to school.
Another incentive provided by the programme is the improvement of the learning environment through rehabilitating schools that have deteriorated severely. “Many students in community schools go to classrooms that have no ceilings, toilets that are not functioning properly and they often have to endure extreme weather in classrooms that have no windows,” said WFP Egypt Country Director a.i Menghestab Haile. “How can we expect children to be excited about going to a school that is almost falling apart? Through this rehabilitation project we are completely renovating schools so children wake up in the morning wanting to go to school. WFP school feeding is not only about providing a daily snack for children or a monthly ration for their families, it is about investing in the education of a younger generation and ultimately a country’s future.”
Representatives from the Egyptian Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations, and contractors implementing the rehabilitation process, participated in a two-day workshop in Cairo that laid the ground for the rehabilitation project. The first phase of the activities is expected to rehabilitate 600 community schools by the end of August 2016.
Ahmed Abdel Rahman, a third grade student in Shohadaa Matareed community school in Upper Egypt’s Beni Suef, is already looking forward to the new school year: “I cannot wait to see what the classroom will look like after they renew it. I heard that we will have desks and chairs in the classroom and that I might even get my own desk,” he said. “Enhancing Access to Education and Fighting Child Labour” will benefit Ahmed and many children in Egypt who long for more and better education in welcoming schools.
# # #
For more information please contact:
Rasha Serry: Rasha.SERRY@eeas.europa.eu, Tel. +202 2461 9860
Website: www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/egypt Facebook: www.facebook.com/EUDelegationegypt Twitter: @EUinEgy YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ1Me9-jssF56KKwzBh0_7w
Amina Al Korey, WFP/Cairo, Amina.Alkorey@wfp.org, Mob. +2 01028531535
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @wfp_mena