The Iraqi Ministry of Education and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will this year provide a daily nutritious snack to more than half a million primary school children in central and southern Iraq.
The partnership agreement was officially signed this week by H.E. Muhammad Tamim, Minister of Education Baghdad and Edward Kallon, WFP Representative and Country Director in Baghdad during a ceremony at the Deputy Prime Minister’s, Salih Al-Mutlak’s Office. .
The school meals partnership is co-funded by the two parties, with the Ministry of Education providing ID20.5 billion (US$17.5 million) to WFP for food procurement, transportation, warehousing and capacity building. WFP is contributing ID4.7 billion (US$4 million) for direct and indirect support costs to implement the program.
This agreement strengthens Iraq’s role as an emerging donor to WFP, demonstrating its commitment to supporting the fight against hunger through school meals programs.
Iraq is now the largest contributor to WFP projects fighting hunger inside the country, providing two thirds of the total funding required for school meals and food relief projects in the most vulnerable areas of the country.
The Ministry of Education and WFP are renewing their partnership for this new school year 2012/2013 providing a 100 gram biscuit snack fortified with micronutrients and vitamins in about 1,800 schools in 18 of the most vulnerable districts.
In parallel, WFP will continue to work with the ministry to build its capacity to design and implement a high-quality national school meals program. The ministry is planning to fully take over the program during the course of 2013.
During the signing ceremony, H.E. Muhammad Tamim emphasized the importance of the partnership with WFP. “The national school meals program is critical to keep our promise of good quality education to all Iraqi children,” Tamim said. “In addition, this program will also benefit the local economy.”
“School meals programs are one of the most popular and wide-spread social investment programs worldwide and are an important social safety net for vulnerable school children and their families,” said Edward Kallon WFP Country Representative in Iraq. “School meals support better access to education, better learning and better nutrition and health. The Government of Iraq is to be commended for its commitment to the national school meals program and WFP is proud to support this effort.”
The renewed partnership follows a successful school meals program in the previous school year, jointly implemented by WFP and the Ministry of Education and its staff in the governorates, districts and schools in collaboration with local communities.
In August 2010 the Iraqi Council of Ministers approved the National School Meals Programme under leadership of the Ministry of Education. WFP was requested to support school meals implementation and build the capacity of the ministry to manage the program.
Source: World Food Programme
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Category: Middle East