CAIRO – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) signed a second partnership agreement with Vodafone Egypt Foundation to support thousands of people through WFP’s school meals programme in the Upper Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt Foundation contributed $US1 million (approximately 6 million Egyptian Pounds) that will benefit around 75,000 people, providing school meals and monthly food rations to school children and their families as well as training for 300 teachers on nutrition awareness activities. The project covers 899 schools in the poorest and most remote areas of Sohag and Assiut governorates.
WFP school meals encourage enrolment of children in nursery and primary schools that are part of the government’s Girls’ Education Initiative. Through this programme, students receive a daily nutritious snack and a monthly food ration for their families. The in-school snack is fortified with vitamin A and iron and helps fight short-term hunger, enhancing children’s school performance.
“Improving the nutritional status of school-aged children is key to helping children realise their full future potential; a child cannot focus in class while hungry, and many of the children in the schools we work in say the morning snack they receive is sometimes the first thing they eat on any given day,” said WFP Egypt Representative and Country Director GianPietro Bordignon. “The project also encourages enrolment and regular attendance of children with the take-home ration acting as an incentive for their parents to send them and keep them in school.”
Parents whose children’s attendance rate is above 80 percent receive 10 kgs of rice every month; the ration is worth as much as twenty percent of a family’s monthly food budget and is equivalent to the wage a child would earn if sent to work instead of school.
“This project is one of the efforts to help underprivileged communities get out of the vicious circle of illiteracy and poverty through promoting education and providing food-based assistance to families who spend most of their income on food,” said Chairman of Vodafone Egypt Foundation Mohamed Henna. “We are investing in human capital through this project that combats child labour, helps reduce school dropout rates and also provides families with a much-needed income injection in the form of direct food assistance.”
Vodafone Foundation is also distributing, through its partnership with WFP, 4,000 school bags to children enrolled in WFP’s school meals programme in the governorate of Assiut.
The project supports the government’s goal to improve the quality of education by 2015, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals.
“Ensuring the success of this project is in accordance with Vodafone Foundation’s strong commitment to social responsibility,” Henna added.
For more information please contact:
GianPietro Bordignon, Gianpietro.Bordignon@wfp.org, Tel. +225281730
Souraya Abo El Saoud, Souraya.Saoud@wfp.org, Tel. +225281730, ext. 4460