School Feeding Programme in Bangladesh. Photo: Shehzad Noorani
The World Food Programme and Unilever have entered into a new partnership under which 95,000 primary school students will receive a nutritional boost in school each day.
Dhaka, 15 March 2011 – The World Food Programme and Unilever have entered into a new partnership under which 95,000 primary school students will receive a nutritional boost in school each day.
The students will be provided with micronutrient-fortified biscuits in schools in the Shyamnagar, Assasuni, Tala and Kalaroa upazilas of Satkhira district.
While inaugurating the launch of the school feeding programme today at the Khorda Government Primary School in the Kalaroa upazila, WFP Bangladesh Representative Christa Räder said, “We are hugely grateful to Unilever, which is a key partner in our fight against hunger and undernutrition. School meals provide vital nourishment, act as a safety net for poor families and also help keep children in school. Having a full stomach helps children concentrate better in class. With Unilever’s support we are now able to scale up this programme here in Satkhira district.”
“The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan has as one of its 50 targets to help more than 1 billion people improve their health and wellbeing. To this end, we are donating $2 million to feed school children in Satkhira, Bangladesh. This is the first donation in a major public-private partnership initiative between Unilever, WFP and UN agencies to fight child malnutrition in Bangladesh,” said Mr. Rakesh Mohan, Chairman and Managing Director, Unilever Bangladesh Limited.
“We will combine the strengths of the private sector with the development knowledge of the public sector, and have a sustainable impact on the reduction of poverty and malnutrition,” he said.
Mr. Abdus Samad, the Deputy Commissioner of Satkhira, attended the event as a guest of honour and distributed biscuits among the students. “The challenges of tackling child hunger are large and complex,” he said. “Such partnerships with the private sector, the United Nations, governmental and non-governmental organisations and communities are an innovative and effective way to achieve our common objectives. I am happy to be able to roll out the school feeding programme in Satkhira today.”
Under the partnership, Unilever has committed to providing US$2 million to WFP for the programme for the next two years. All primary school children in the four upazilas of Satkhira will get a 75-gram packet of eight biscuits, six days per week. This food ration provides 338 kilocalories per day and 67 percent of the recommended daily allowance of micronutrients.
Mr. Rakibul Islam, the head teacher of Khorda Government Primary School said, “I’ve been observing my students keenly and notice how often some of them complain of acute headache and stomach pains in the classes, mostly because of attending school on an empty stomach. I hope this scheme will effectively address the hunger and undernutrition of our children and improve their learning ability.”