about the author
Youth Outreach Coordinator
HI – My name is Graham Bell. I have been an educator for the last 13 years, teaching at both primary and secondary levels in the UK and in international schools.
On November 20th, UN marked 20th anniversary of Universal Children's Day.
In 1989, the United Nations adopted a revolutionary treaty that gave rights to all children everywhere. It's called the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It is the most ratified treaty in the world. More than 70 countries have adopted the convention's principle into their own legal code.
Considerable progress has been achieved in the past twenty years. The number of deaths of children under five around the world has dropped from 12.5 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008. About 84 percent of the world's primary school age children are enrolled in school, and the education gap between boys and girls is closing.
However, children's rights are still far from assured. About 1 billion still lack services essential to their survival and development. 200 million children are chronically malnourished.
For the past 45 years, WFP has been lending a helping hand to children through school-meals programmes.
Studies show that is more difficult for children to learn without adequate food and nutrition. For 75 million children who do not attend the school, a daily school meal provides a strong incentive to send children to school and keep them there.
School meals are a good way to channel vital nourishment to poor children.
Having a full stomach also helps them to concentrate better on their lessons.
In the world’s poorest countries, a school meal programme can double primary school enrolment in one year. Among the key beneficiaries are girls, who otherwise may never be given the opportunity to learn.
In addition, the programmes directly address the millennium development goals of reducing hunger by half and achieving universal primary education by 2015.
WFP now provides meals to an average of 22.6 million children in school, half of which are girls, in 68 countries.
Providing children with a basic education is the best investment the world can make in its future. Education reduces poverty by providing everyone with choices and opportunities to create a better life for themselves…
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