Last fall I published an update on the UN World Food Programme's (WFP) school feeding efforts to fight child hunger in the West Bank and Gaza. To end hunger and poverty in the occupied Palestinian territory it is vital that this program be supported. In the following interview Ancel Kats of WFP provides the very latest on this situation.
What is the status of the WFP school feeding programs in Gaza and the West Bank?
Throughout the Gaza Strip, the WFP School Feeding programme reaches 92,200 primary school children in 156 schools. These children receive biscuits (date bars) and chocolate flavoured milk on a daily basis. The programme is carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
In the West Bank, school snacks are provided for 63,600 children in 148 primary schools and 201 kindergartens, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Near East Foundation (NEF). Just like in the Gaza Strip, the children receive pastries and chocolate flavoured milk on a daily basis. The West Bank School Feeding programme also provides employment opportunities for the community through a cash-for-work scheme, as the snacks used in distributions are prepared by bakeries and women centres, who in return receive cash and food commodities from WFP.
Womens groups preparing snacks for the school feeding rations Sabaya centre in Kharas, Western Hebron – Photo:WFP/Nir Kafri
The school feeding programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was introduced as a safety net in order to protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable non-refugee households. It maintains the enrollment of boys and girls in schools, and contributes positively to their concentration abilities.
Are you secured for funding to continue this program for the rest of 2010 and expand?
Funding is secure until the end of the 2009/2010 school year and in the meantime we will ensure to mobilize the required resources for the launch of the new school year. A new West Bank Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation will be launched as of July 2010, and the school feeding programme in the West Bank will be expanded to 75,000 kids starting the 2010/2011 school year.
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