FAO plans massive food distribution to Afghan schoolchildren

21 February 2002

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to launch a long-term school feeding operation in Afghanistan, where hundreds of thousands of children will benefit from relief aid.

“The programme aims to bring nutritional support to children, while helping to keep kids, and especially girls, in the classroom,” WFP spokesperson Jennifer Abrahamson told reporters in Islamabad. “It will also give food incentives to teachers and provide food rations and wages to laborers who will help to physically reconstruct schools.”

The agency has already distributed high-energy biscuits to over 33,000 schoolgirls in Mazar-i-Sharif. Ms. Abrahamson explained that the effort would yield both nutritional and educational results. “Some 6,600 kilogrammes were distributed to all 20 girls schools in the city to encourage the girls to return to school after a four-year ban on female education, and to fortify their diets,” she said.

While caring for Afghan children, the agency is continuing its efforts to feed the population as a whole. Today, WFP assessment teams moved into two locations in Faryab province to investigate food security and health conditions of families living in hard-to-reach mountain villages, according to Ms. Abrahamson.

In addition, she announced that the agency had signed an agreement to distribute urgently needed food rations to members of Afghanistan’s civil service. Starting early next month, WFP will provide a monthly ration including lentils and cooking oil to some 60,000 employees in Kabul. “The rations are worth is worth roughly 50 per cent of their cash salaries,” she said.

 

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