WFP Launches School Meals Programme To Support Both Lebanese And Syrian Children
BEIRUT – In March, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) launched a school meals programme, which supports both Lebanese and Syrian children attending public primary schools across Lebanon.
“Education is vital to equip the youth of Lebanon and Syria with the tools they will need to contribute to a region that is going through such turmoil and difficulty,” said WFP Lebanon Country Director Dominik Heinrich. “By providing children with daily, nutritious meals at school, WFP can ensure improved nutritional intake for these children as well as encouraging their parents to send them to school regularly.”
The meals include a carton of milk or juice, locally-baked snacks and a piece of fruit, providing the energy students need to concentrate on - and benefit from - their lessons.
The arrival of more than one million Syrian refugees over the past five years has stretched Lebanon’s public services, including the education sector. To address this, more than 250 public schools have introduced a double shift system, permitting the enrolment of additional students.
This programme, funded by the Italian Development Cooperation, currently allows WFP to provide daily nutritious meals for 10,000 vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee children attending 13 primary schools. The selected schools are located in the most vulnerable communities across Lebanon as identified by UNICEF and UNHCR and the programme is carried out in close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
“Our school meals programme is an investment in the education and future of the next generation. We have already seen positive improvements in attendance and students’ ability to focus on their lessons in the last few weeks since we launched the pilot,” Heinrich added. “Following the initial success, made possible thanks to the support of the schools and our partners, WFP is preparing to expand this programme during the next academic year to more schools in the country.”
Every month, WFP assists 600,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees across Lebanon through electronic food vouchers so they can purchase their food from local markets. Since 2013, WFP’s programme has injected almost US$600 million into the Lebanese economy.
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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 80 countries.
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