CAIRO – The Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Sahar Nasr, visited a community school in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena supported by the "Enhancing Access to Education and Fighting Child Labour” project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP). The EU has allocated a €60 million grant for this project.
The EU-funded project targets 16 of the most vulnerable governorates in Egypt. It aims at fighting child labour through the improvement of access to education, especially for girls, over the course of four years. The majority of children attending community schools are girls previously engaged, or are at risk of engaging, in child labour. During the visit, the students spoke to the Egyptian Minister about their aspirations for a bright future; a future in which they would become doctors, teachers, or engineers.
"Through the 'Enhancing Access to Education and Fighting Child Labour' project, the EU is helping children, especially girls, who have to work to go to school instead,” said the Chargé d' Affaires a.i. of the EU Delegation to Egypt Reinhold Brender. “We believe that this improvement in educational opportunities will make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families. Education helps change the communities for the better,” he added.
The EU-funded project distributes daily, in-school, snacks for children. These are date bars fortified with vitamins and minerals providing 25 percent of daily nutritional needs. To ensure the children's regular school attendance, up to 400,000 family members of pupils with a minimum 80 pecent attendance rate also receive a monthly take-home ration in the form of 10kg of rice and one litre of oil. The equivalent value of the ration is calculated against the potential income of a working child.
“Children often find themselves born into unfortunate circumstances forcing them to bear the responsibility of providing for their families at a very young age,” said WFP Egypt Country Director a.i. Menghestab Haile. “Quite often these very same children, if given the opportunity, can be truly influential figures in their community. WFP provides children with the opportunity to get an education that lays the ground for personal success and ultimately national development.”
WFP signed the partnership agreement with the EU in July 2014. It is the largest contribution ever received for WFP’s operations in Egypt.
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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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