As some of the schools get ready to reopen in March, the school feeding program of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is getting a boost with EUR €11 million contributions from the European Commission.
“The economic crisis is crippling this country and families are facing hunger every day. We have heard desperate cries from mothers who do not know how they can afford to feed their children,’’ said WFP Afghanistan Country Director Mary-Ellen McGroarty.
“School feeding contributes to children’s health and nutrition and helps them learn and perform better. It also acts as an incentive for families to send their children to school and keep them there. We are very grateful for the EU’s continued support.”
Andreas Von Brandt, the EU’s Ambassador to Afghanistan said, “The EU is committed to supporting families which struggle in ensuring that their children have access to schooling and nutritious food. The partnership we have established with WFP is an excellent example in case. We strongly encourage the mobilization of local providers that are best placed to boost the economy, provide new job opportunities, and support community income generation.”
Through its school meals program, WFP has been supporting schools in warmer climate provinces of Kandahar and Nangarhar, where 350,000 students in 783 schools have been provided with high-energy biscuits and cooking oil for their families this year. In March, WFP is expanding the program to more than 1000 schools given the increasing needs. WFP has also created Bread +, a nutritious bread made with locally fortified wheat flour, walnuts, raisins, and sugar, to be given to school children when schools reopen after the winter break.
Driven by the impact of the economic crisis, decades of conflict, and drought, food insecurity in Afghanistan continues deteriorating. Over half of all Afghan people – 23 million – need emergency food assistance. So far this year, WFP has provided nearly 13 million people with life-saving food and nutrition aid. In 2021, WFP reached 15 million people.
In 2022, WFP needs US$ 2.6 billion to support 23 million people facing acute hunger and malnutrition, including 1 million school children. US$ 1.7 billion of which remains unfunded after March.