On International School Meals Day, WFP and the Ministry of Education commit to expanding support to all schoolchildren
BAGHDAD – On International School Meals Day, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) renews its commitment to support the learning and nutrition needs of children in Iraq. Under the National School Feeding Programme, WFP in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Education is developing a new universal School Feeding policy to support all primary school children in the country.
“As a student who formerly benefited from the national school feeding programme, I still recall my happiness when receiving the meals and how we eagerly waited for this part of the school day. I look forward to all Iraqi students enjoying the same great feeling as we look to expand the National School Feeding Programme to all schoolchildren,” said Iraqi Minister of Education Ali Hameed Mikhlif Muhsin. “We appreciate the support provided by WFP and assure our full commitment to a comprehensive, sustainable school feeding project which we consider an important step to ensure healthy and educated students who would serve the country and society in the future.”
WFP and the Ministry of Education resumed the National School Feeding Programme in January 2021 to provide support to 255,000 vulnerable children and families in 11 governorates across Iraq. Mohammed Nasir Jiyad in Anbar reported that over half the students who had dropped out of Al Rayhana School rejoined classes following the resumption of the school feeding programme. Said 12-year old school girl Tadhi: “I look forward to attending school to learn and eat with my friends, sharing happy moments together.”
“WFP remains committed to supporting the Government of Iraq on strengthening national programmes, including the development of this universal school feeding policy investing in the future of the children of Iraq, in particular girls,” said WFP Representative in Iraq Abdirahman Meygag. “On International School Meals Day, WFP stands ready to recommence the National School Feeding Programme with the Ministry of Education as soon as schools are safe to open and attend.”
The impact of COVID-19 is anticipated to go beyond the immediate learning, health and nutrition status of children with consequences for their socialization and mental wellbeing. WFP and UNICEF’s joint survey found in November 2020 that over 90 percent of parents support sending their children back to school, as long as safety measures were in place to help protect everyone, such as mandatory masks and distancing.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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