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The European Union Supports Access to Education in Southern Madagascar

Antananarivo - The European Union has recently allocated a contribution of around 14 billion Ariary (US$5.96 million) towards the school feeding programme implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Education in the southern region of Madagascar. This funding will allow WFP to continue its food assistance, which had been partially scaled back during the 2012/2013 school year due to a funding shortfall.

The school feeding programme aims to expand access to primary education, to help students concentrate in class and to encourage them to attend school. European Union funding has allowed WFP to continue its food assistance until the end of the 2012/2013 school year and will cover the needs of 219,000 children and adults during the two first terms of the 2013/2014 school year in the regions of Androy, Anosy and Atsimo Andrefana. During this period, 6,500 tons of food commodities will be distributed, and every student will receive a ration during the school week consisting of corn, vegetables and oil. The European Union’s contribution will also serve to provide schools with new ovens and kitchen utensils.

“We are grateful for this aid from the European Union that will allow WFP to continue its school feeding programme. In the south, this programme covers approximately 42% of the assistance needed. We are continuing our efforts to mobilize resources in order to meet the needs of an estimated 500,000 children in the south and to increase school attendance rates; but also to continue to assist the most vulnerable communities in other parts of the country,” explained WFP representative in Madagascar Willem van Milink.

It is particularly important for WFP to continue its school feeding programme in schools that are located in zones with the highest risk of being hit by cyclones, as evidenced by the 2012/2013 tropical storm season.

This aid from the European Union has been allocated within the framework of the project “Emergency Support to Education in Madagascar,” which aims to contribute to the functioning of the primary education system and allow greater access to education by reducing costs for the most vulnerable households.

School canteens also provide a platform to carry out complementary activities, such as fortifying food rations with micronutrients, raising nutritional and environmental awareness and educating children about the importance of hygiene. This programme is carried out thanks to the support of other donors such as France and Norway.