Antananarivo- The European Union has recently allocated a contribution of around 14 billion Ariary ($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 in partly scaled back during the 2012/2013 school year due to a funding shortfall.
The school-feeding programme aims to better the access to primary education, to help students concentrate in class and 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 the 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 foodstuffs will be distributed; every student will receive a ration during the school week consisting of corn, vegetables and oil. This contribution from the European Union will also serve to provide ovens and kitchen utensils.
“We welcome this aid received from the European Union thanks to which WFP will be able to continue its school-feeding programme. In the south, this programme covers approximately 42% of the assistance needs. We continue our efforts to mobilize resources to meet the needs of an estimated 500 000 children in the south and to increase school attendance rates; but also to continue assist the most vulnerable communities in other parts of the country” explained Willem van Milink, WFP representative in Madagascar.
It is particularly important for WFP to continue its school-feeding programme in schools which are located in the zones which are most risk of being hit by cyclones, as evidenced by the 2012/2013 tropical storm season.
This aid from the European Union has been allocated in the scope of the “Emergency Support to Education in Madagascar” which aims to contribute to maintaining the primary education system and to maintain access to education by alleviating the costs to the most vulnerable households.
School canteens are, in addition, a platform to carry out complementary activities such as fortifying of food rations through micronutrients, raising nutritional and environmental awareness and education children about the importance of hygiene. This programme is carried out thanks to the support from other donors such as France and Norway.