Saudi Arabia Donates Dates for Children Receiving School Meals in Nicaragua

From l-r: WFP Representative Helmut W. Rauch, the Private Secretary to the President for International Affairs Mohamed M. Lashtar, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Mexico Hussein M. Alassiri, the Vice Minister of Education José Treminio, and students of the “Rigoberto López Pérez” Elementary School. Copyright: WFP/Jorge Areas

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) received a valuable contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to feed 151.000 Nicaraguan school children. The contribution of 136 Metric Tons of dates will complement the meals children receive through the School Feeding Programme.

MANAGUA. -“Again, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demonstrates its generosity and commitment to work with the people of Nicaragua to reduce hunger and malnutrition among families in need of nutritious food,” said WFP Representative in Nicaragua, Helmut W. Rauch, during the ceremony to mark this donation in the “Rigoberto López Pérez” Elementary School.

The ceremony was attended by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Mexico, Hussein M. Alassiri, the Vice Minister of Education, José Treminio and the Private Secretary to the President for International Affairs, Mohamed M. Lashtar.

This is the first time WFP in Central America has received a contribution of dates, which are fruits produced by the date palm. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest producers of dates worldwide. Dates have a high nutritional value and are high in energy. They provide numerous health benefits, highlighted by their contribution to the treatment of anemia. They are ideal for those who need energy such as students and athletes as they improve alertness, concentration, and help replenish energy after physical activity.

This donation, valued at US$265.991 will complement the food basket for a period of 45 days for 150.000 pre-school and elementary school students in rural public schools of the Ministry of Education in the Department of Jinotega and the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) of Nicaragua.

Largest Multilateral Donor

This contribution of dates by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Nicaragua is part of the donations that this Southwestern Asian nation has made to WFP. In 2008, WFP received a historic contribution of US$500 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to provide relief to millions affected by rising food prices and the global economic crisis.

Nicaragua received US$1.2 million of these funds which was invested in food for 38,000 children and pregnant women facing nutritional risk. In this way, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become the largest multilateral donor of WFP.

“We are confident that the Nicaraguan children will joyfully receive the dates which are a fruit rich in flavor and highly nutritious. I want to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for sharing the gifts that their land produces with children who need to improve their nutrition to continue their studies in the schools in the poorest areas of Nicaragua,” said Rauch.

Children in Nicaragua attending public schools receive a school meal through the School Feeding Programme. This meal consists of rice, beans, fortified cereals, wheat flour and vegetable oil. The dates will be a nutritious complement to the school meal.