Celebrating the continued transition of school feeding programme in Cambodia
SIEM REAP – Today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the United States Embassy, and Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) celebrated the handover of the school feeding programme in 85 additional schools from WFP to the Cambodian Government.
“Today’s handover marks a milestone for school feeding in Cambodia. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the gradual expansion of the national school feeding programme in recognition of its positive impact on education, nutrition, and social protection,” said Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport.
The Minister added that the Government is proud to have joined the Global School Meals coalition in August 2021 and considers school feeding more relevant than ever as the country continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the oldest and largest donor to the school feeding programme, the United States Government, through the U.S. Department of Agricultural McGovern-Dole program, has played a critical role in the transformation of school feeding in Cambodia.
“Quality school meals are so important for students and families, and it’s encouraging to see the Ministry of Education taking over this program and expanding it nationwide,” said W. Patrick Murphy, U.S. Ambassador who participated in the ceremony. Ambassador Murphy was pleased to see the results of long-standing support from the United States has made in the growth and development of school children in Cambodia. Contribution from the U.S. Government has totalled over US$ 84 million since 2021.
“The generous support from the US Government has enabled young Cambodians from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds to access education like their peers. As a result of school meals, their health and nutrition have improved, and they also stay in school longer and learn better. Most importantly, the support of USDA has helped lay the foundations for the national programme through strengthening national capacity to manage the programme and building essential infrastructure in schools across the country,” said Claire Conan, WFP Country Director.
Alongside other donors, the Government of Cambodia contributes funds to WFP for the running of school feeding in the remaining schools, totalling US$ 24 million since 2007.
Started in 1999, the school feeding programme today provides daily meals to some 280,000 pre-primary and primary school children in 1,113 schools across 10 provinces. In 2014, learning from the programme experience, WFP and the Ministry jointly developed the home-grown model, using locally available ingredients for school meals. The model helped boost local agricultural production and create jobs and income for many communities.
In 2019, the Government began to take over school feeding from WFP, funding and implementing it as a national programme and incorporating it into its national social protection scheme. The Government now independently funds and manages the programme in 290 schools – 26 percent of all schools – with an allocation of US$ 2.9 million this year.
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