The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, has wrapped up a visit in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), where she reiterated the agency’s commitment to working with the Government to help the country achieve middle-income status and to support food and nutrition security for all.
“During my visit, I’ve spoken to ministers, to provincial and district authorities, and to teachers and students. What I heard at every level was a commitment to support these goals,” Ms. Cousin said in a news release from the Laotian capital, Vientiane, at the end of her three-day mission.
She said that WFP is working with communities in rural areas to make sure school meal programmes support education outcomes. “Achieving middle-income status is about the development of human capital, and that begins with food and nutrition security, and with education.”
WFP is preparing to launch a new five-year program in Lao PDR next year, contributing towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 on achieving food and nutrition security globally by 2030. This initiative will further support the Eight National Social Economic Development Plan, bringing the country to middle-income status by 2020. An independent review was carried out this year, to identify which areas of the new programme should be prioritized to achieve Goal 2.
On her trip, Ms. Cousin also visited schools in Luang Prabang province where WFP is working with partners to provide a package of assistance to students. The agency is working closely with the Government at all levels to take over and improve school lunch programs by 2021. Improved meal plans, in addition to schools gardens, literacy programs, and hygiene and sanitation initiatives can combine into a good sustainable model for development, according to WFP>