16 February 2010

Rwanda: Plan Rwanda to Start School-Feeding Project

Kigali — Plan Rwanda, a non-profit organization has partnered with World Food Programme (WFP) to implement the school feeding program set to begin next month in the Eastern Province.

While signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations, the WFP Country Director, Abdoulaye Baldé, noted that Plan is able to execute the project because of their expertise in community-based approaches.

"We recognize available skills and know that Plan is an organization devoted to improving the lives of children. In this regard, we are indeed very grateful that they decided to partner with us and implement the programme at field level," Baldé said.

The president and CEO of Plan International based in Canada, Rosemary Mc Carney, also highlighted that school feeding programs are fundamental in improving the lives of children, adding that this partnership aims at eliminating malnutrition and hunger among children.

"Out of the 300 schools in Rwanda, this partnership aims at providing meals to 76 schools in Bugesera and Gatsibo districts. We will also ensure the set up of various kitchens to enable preparation of these nutritional foods which will include vegetables.

"This MoU will last up to December 31 this year but we certainly hope to scale up our interventions but renewing the agreement year after year to meet the same needs of children countrywide," Mc Carney explained.

WFP officials noted that the program will cost a total of $2.3 million of which $450,000 will be contributed by Plan Rwanda.

Mc Carney also added that the same program will also benefit other vulnerable groups prone to nutritional problems such as HIV positive people and lactating mothers.

"In a bid to achieve the millennium development goals 1 and 2, which aim at eliminating extreme poverty and hunger as well as achieving universal primary education, vulnerable people will also benefit from the 11nutrition centers and 10 antiretroviral therapy facilities that will be set up," she added.

UN Resident Coordinator, Aurélien Agbénouci, also commended Plan for undertaking this initiative citing that school meals are an incentive for most children who would otherwise be too malnourished to attend school.

Agbénouci also affirmed the commitment of UN agencies to promoting the 9-Year Basic Education programme packages saying that no nation can develop without providing education.

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