The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) launched a new project for school children funded by the Government of China through the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).
Around 930 tonnes of rice and 120 tonnes of canned fish are to be procured by WFP with the support of China’s Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund (GDSSCF) for top-up lunches of some 130,000 students in 1,400 primary schools across the country.
Inaugurated by Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Lao PDR, Counsellor Xiang Fangqiang, and Minister of Education and Sports, H.E. Associate Prof. Dr Phout Simmalavong, the project is part of the first batch of projects funded by the newly upgraded GDSSCF of the Chinese Government.
“The food contribution from the Government of China is crucial at this moment. It will contribute to increasing nutrition and filling gaps in students’ lunches. This also demonstrates the long-term friendship between our Parties and Governments as well as between the people of Lao PDR and China,” said Minister Dr Phout Simmalavong.
“China will work closely with the Lao Government and WFP, as well as other development partners to implement this GDI project, which will elevate international exchanges and cooperation to a new level and inject new impetus to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda, building a Lao-China community with a shared future and a global community for development with a shared future,” said Counsellor Xiang Fangqiang.
“We thank the Government of China for helping WFP build greater resilience and sustainability of the National School Meals Programme. Already, WFP’s school feeding has benefited from contributions from the Chinese private sector, and with this first contribution from the Government in recent years, we look forward to continuing our partnership to reach the most vulnerable children with vital food and nutrition support in Lao PDR,” said Jan Delbaere, WFP Country Director and Representative.
In Lao PDR, school feeding programmes target children in rural areas who are facing food security and poverty. In addition to the provision of nutritious school lunches, WFP’s support includes the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, establishing kitchens, storerooms and gardens, promoting literacy activities, as well as the construction of community greenhouses and fishponds.
Existing donors to WFP’s Lao PDR programme include China, France, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States and private donors.