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Canada Supports Schools Meals In Egypt Helping Host Community & Syrian Refugees

CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today expressed gratitude to the government of Canada for its donation of CAD$10 million (US$ 8 million) to support WFP school feeding for children of Syrian refugees alongside Egyptian children.

“I thank Canada for this substantial contribution allowing WFP to extend school feeding to include many vulnerable Syrian refugee children as well as those from the Egyptian host community adversely affected by the refugee influx,” said Lubna Alaman, WFP Country Director and Representative in Egypt.

“Through a comprehensive educational assistance package, the Government of Canada, partnering with WFP, aims to address constraints facing both Syrian refugees and their host communities in Egypt,” explained His Excellency Troy Luluashnyk, Ambassador of Canada to Egypt.

“Globally, Canada is committed to support development programming in three thematic areas focused on children and youth; food security and sustainable economic growth. This initiative provides support to schools, government services and vulnerable community members addressing these three key areas,” he added.

With an emphasis on areas with a high ratio of Syrian refugees, children in 280 targeted schools will receive nutritious snacks in the form of fortified date bars to encourage their enrolment and their retention in class.

Continuing donor support is essential for Syrian refugees suffering from being displaced multiple times and for prolonged periods, resulting in increased vulnerability, given limited opportunities to earn any income. As a consequence, many Syrian refugees have been forced to withdraw their children from school and – like many vulnerable children in Egypt – Syrian youngsters have had to start to work to help with family expenses.

WFP’s two-year project will support a total of 180,000 children including more than 7,000 Syrian children in Alexandria and Damietta governorates.  The intention is to increase access to, and retention of, Syrian refugee children and their Egyptian peers in the public education system.

WFP will support the Ministry of Education by providing snacks in schools, improving the school learning environment, raising awareness of the importance of education and nutritional best practices among teachers and Syrians, especially women, as well as addressing constraints on their being absorbed into local communities.

A key aspect is to ensure that Syrian children have access to education in Egypt and can integrate into host communities. Providing in-school snacks to encourage school attendance coupled with improving the capacity of schools in areas where many refugees live, relieves the pressure on local schools and avoids further disruption to education for refugees and their peers.

In 2014, more than 235,000 children were supported through WFP’s School Feeding Programme. An additional increase of 100,000 children is planned over the next four years.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

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For more information please contact:
Amina Al Korey, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +2 0225281730, Mob. +2 01028531535