5 March 2013

Egypt: Western Union Foundation Contributes to WFP's School Meals Programme in Upper Egypt

Cairo — The UN World Food Programme (WFP) received US$100,000 (670,000 Egyptian pounds) from the Western Union Foundation to support thousands of children and their families through WFP's school meals programme in Upper Egypt.

The Western Union Foundation donation will benefit more than 22,000 children attending Early Education classes (nursery) in Assiut, one of the poorest Egyptian governorates.

WFP school meals encourage enrolment of children in nursery schools by providing children with a daily nutritious snack enriched with iron and vitamin A. The in-school date bar helps fight short-term hunger that could negatively affect children's school performance.

"Feeding the minds of our youth starts with feeding their bodies with decent nutrition," said Western Union Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "We've seen that school meals can boost attendance and learning outcomes. The Western Union Foundation is proud to support the efforts of the World Food Programme to equip students with the resources they need to learn and grow."

The funds were raised during a global campaign that Western Union, a US-based financial services company, launched in 2012 during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan. The funds raised were then donated to WFP through their Foundation.

"Improving the nutritional status of school-aged children is key to helping them realise their full future potential," said WFP Egypt Representative and Country Director GianPietro Bordignon. "WFP's school meals programme also gives many children the chance to get an education by offering their parents a monthly food ration as an incentive to send them regularly to school."

Parents whose children maintain an attendance rate above 80 percent receive a monthly food ration that compensates for the wage a child would earn if sent to work instead of school. The take-home rations constitute about 20 percent of the family's monthly expenditure on food.

The project supports the Government of Egypt's goal to improve the quality of education by 2015, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

GianPietro Bordignon, Gianpietro.Bordignon@wfp.org Tel. +225281730

Souraya Abo El Saoud, Souraya.Saoud@wfp.org Tel. +225281730, ext. 4460

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