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Phnom Penh – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Cambodia has welcomed a commitment of US$ 20 million over the next three years for its school feeding programmes from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). >
The donation will allow WFP Cambodia to provide meals to 153,000 pre-school and primary school children, as well as take-home rations for 12,000 students in grades 4 to 6 from very poor households, in 863 primary schools in three provinces: Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom.
"A daily healthy breakfast at school is an effective way to give children the energy and nutrients they need to grow and learn, as well as giving parents an extra incentive to send their children to school," said WFP Cambodia Representative Gianpietro Bordignon. "This is an important part of WFP's efforts to alleviate child hunger and support the Royal Government of Cambodia to achieve universal primary education here in Cambodia".
For the 2013/14 school year, USDA will make available 2,600 metric tons of rice, 210 metric tons of yellow split peas and 70 metric tons of vegetable oil, for a total value of US$ 5.5 million.
The USDA funds support a comprehensive package of activities to ensure quality of education, improve attentiveness and attendance, and improve health and nutrition practices. Activities will include improvement of school infrastructure, provision of school supplies, support to school gardens, literacy promotion activities and campaigns, and trainings.
The package contains specific components for capacity development to strengthen national ownership of the programme. The funding will support WFP's efforts to explore innovative approaches and sustainable models that contribute to the government plan for a national School Feeding Programme in the future.
All activities are carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, NGOs - particularly in providing essential complementary activities -, other development partners and communities.
WFP has been implementing school feeding programmes in Cambodia since 1999. Last year, the programme reached more than 450,000 children in 4,275 primary schools. This represents close to two thirds of all primary schools in Cambodia and covers 15 out of 24 provinces.
"We have seen that school feeding programmes in Cambodia work well as a social safety net. They can contribute not only to the education and health of children, but also to the food security of the entire community," added Bordignon. "Ultimately, our aim is to support the Royal Government of Cambodia to build a sustainable, nationally run school feeding programme in the future."
The three-year agreement between USDA and WFP Cambodia was signed in September 2013 and builds on USDA's previous support of more than US$ 24 million over the past eight years. The US is one of the top five donors to WFP's operations in Cambodia.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance. Learn more about us at www.wfp.org or follow us on Twitter @wfp_media
To arrange media interview or inquiry, please contact 1. Mr. Gianpietro Bordignon, Country Representative of WFP Cambodia, Tel. +855 023 21 21 37 (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org) 2. Ms. Somealea Ngay, Senior Public Information Assistant of WFP Cambodia, Tel. +855 023 21 21 37 (email address: email@example.com)