UN World Food Programme

Iceland to join top five per capita donors to WFP with unique contribution

WFP has welcomed an announcement by the Icelandic Government of a donation of US$3.2 million – the equivalent of every Icelandic primary school child providing a daily meal to a child in a WFP school feeding programme.

WFP has welcomed an announcement by the Icelandic Government of a donation of US$3.2 million – the equivalent of every Icelandic primary school child providing a daily meal to a child in a WFP school feeding programme.

 

The concept of counting primary school children in your own country and using this as a basis for providing school meals to children in the poorest countries is very exciting.

John Powell, WFP Deputy Executive Director for Fundraising and Communications

The funds will be spent on food for education projects in Malawi and Uganda.

 

The donation will be used in 2007 and 2008. Based on current contributions, it would bring Iceland into WFP’s top five donors per capita of population.

There are 45,000 primary school children currently in Iceland. With this donation, 45,000 African children in the poorest parts of the world will be assured nourishment while getting a basic education.

Remarkable

“It is a remarkable contribution,” said John Powell, WFP Deputy Executive Director for Fundraising and Communications.

“The concept of counting primary school children in your own country and using this as a basis for providing school meals to children in the poorest countries is very exciting. If other donor countries were to apply the same policy, it could become a significant tool in fighting malnutrition among children and at the same time bring them into school.”

The provision of school meals boosts attendance, especially of girls.

An estimated 400 million children in the world know what it is like to go hungry to bed and 100 million children do not attend school at all.

Major obstacle

These figures represent a major obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals of cutting poverty and hunger by half and ensuring that all children in the world receive a primary education.

“Another very positive aspect is that Iceland has committed itself to a multi-year funding. For WFP operations such a commitment is very important. WFP encourages other donor countries to be inspired by Iceland’s approach,” said Powell.

WFP school feeding programmes have been shown to be a very cost-effective way to fight hunger and encourage the parents of the poorest children to allow them to get a basic education.

Decades of experience

WFP has more than 40 years of experience in school feeding activities. In 2005 WFP provided school meals to 21.7 million children in 74 countries.

Currently, WFP’s top five per capita donors are: Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden.

This latest donation represents a huge increase in Iceland’s contributions to WFP, which hitherto this year amount to US$514,000.