The World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS), yesterday began distributing family food parcels to 39,650 vulnerable households benefiting close to 200,000 people in five provinces.

According to WFP’s press release, the assistance benefits families who have been identified as vulnerable by local authorities, hold the national IDPoor equity card and have children enrolled in the schools supported by the WFP/MoEYS school meals programme.

In normal times, the school meals programme of the WFP/MoEYS provides nutritious and healthy meals to 223,000 children in 908 target schools in the five provinces of Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat. Good nutrition is essential to children’s mental and physical development and studies have shown that school meals increase students’ concentration and help them study more effectively, contributing to better educational outcomes while also relieving the economic burden on households.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and related school closures, children have missed out on the nutritious cooked breakfasts. This has particularly impacted children from the poorest families, many of whom have also suffered from loss of income and livelihoods.

“At this time of heightened needs, WFP and MoEYS’ food distribution complements other social assistance initiatives from the Royal Government of Cambodia, which were expanded in recent months. It will contribute to meeting the needs of particularly vulnerable households and ensure that children do not miss out on food during this crisis. We are deeply grateful to all our partners for their support, especially MoEYS and the National Social Protection Council,” said Ms. Claire CONAN, WFP’s Representative in Cambodia.

This is the fourth round of food distribution meant to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable households. The distributions are conducted through school networks with support from Education Departments, school administrations, commune and village authorities as well as NGO partners. The rations include 25kg of rice, canned fish and vegetable oil. WFP is also working closely with MoEYS and other partners to improve school infrastructure and facilities as a preparedness measure for a safe return to school.

The school feeding programme in Cambodia, including this special food distribution, is made possible with generous support from the Governments of Cambodia and Japan, KOICA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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