Last year I wrote an article about the need for school feeding to help impoverished children in Iraq. The United Nations World Food Programme recommended that Food for Education become a priority, especially in the poorer districts of the country.
Now that is set to happen. The World Food programme is scheduled to begin school feeding for Iraqi children on Monday, November 16th. WFP describes this as a pilot program for 170,000 Iraqi children in eight extremely food insecure districts. The program was originally scheduled to begin at the end of September but there were unfortunate delays in obtaining and then transporting the food into Iraq.
Once this program gets underway it will be a valuable help to Iraqi families. Ensuring food for children at school boosts not only their nutrition but also classroom attendance and performance.
The key will be sustaining and also expanding school feeding within Iraq. WFP had run school feeding in the country during 2006 but the program was suspended. The WFP, the Iraqi government, and the international community can work together to build a strong school feeding program for the country. For Iraq, school meals can be a quiet step for peace and progress.