More than 8.8 million children in Egypt have never attended primary school. In an effort to boost attendance at school and to encourage parents and their children not to leave school at an early age, the World Food Programme has been providing children across the country with healthy food.
The catch? Children must ensure that their attendance exceeds 80 percent.
Reaching out to children in Fayoum
Working in eight of Egypt’s most vulnerable governorates, WFP provides 216,000 children with daily snacks at school in the form of fortified date bars and take-home rations. One of the governorates targetted by the school feeding programme is Fayoum, located about 100 km southwest of Cairo. Fayoum is ranked the lowest of Egypt’s governorates on the Human Development Index. WFP supports all community schools in Fayoum.
A school with just one classroom
A young girl stands proudly in front of her one-classroom school in Fayoum governorate. One-classroom schools are community schools consisting of a single room structure in a sparsely populated, rural and remote area. These schools offer classes to pupils of different ages at the primary education level, with a special focus on girls. They may be the only hope for education for some children.
Providing essential nutrition
WFP includes Giza governorate, located within the Greater Cairo metropolis, in its school feeding programme. Almost half of Giza’s population demonstrates poor food consumption habits and insufficient access to vital nutrients such as iron. School feeding in Giza is able to reach the most remote schools, providing fortified snacks and monthly take-home rations for primary school students and their families.
A focus on empowering girls
In Egypt’s rural Beni Suef governorate, located in the south of Egypt, WFP supports 315 community schools where over 84 percent of those enrolled are girls. Community-based education provides access to quality basic education for children between the ages of 6-14 in underprivileged rural and urban areas. It grants access to education for children who missed out on formal schooling, particularly girls.
Adding colour to educational messages
Colouring books produced in Arabic by WFP Egypt help convey important educational messages on nutrition and hygiene to primary school students.
WFP receives support from private donors
WFP supports the Egyptian government by providing daily snacks to children in public schools across Upper Egypt, where over half of the beneficiaries of the national school feeding programme live. The programme is supported by bilateral and private donations, the largest of which are through the Egyptian-Italian Debt Swap Programme and the Egyptian-German Debt Swap Programme.
Hand in hand with local NGOs
Through partnerships with local NGOs, thousands of tons of rice and date bars are transported, stored and delivered by WFP to children and their families on a monthly basis.
Lessons on nutrition and hygiene
In the rural governorate of Minya in Upper Egypt, primary school students in community schools are provided with daily fortified snacks and monthly take-home rations. They are also provided with colouring books, games, calendars and posters featuring educational messages on nutrition and hygiene. Teachers are invited to attend trainings on nutrition and hygiene to supplement the curriculum.
Encouraging education, combating child labour
Families of students with at least 80 percent class attendance receive monthly take-home rations by WFP in the form of 10 kg of rice and at times vegetable oil and packages of dates. Take-home rations and in-school fortified snacks relieve vulnerable families of around 20 percent of their monthly expenditure on food, encouraging them to keep their children in school. The take-home rations also compensate for potential income earned by a child sent to work.
Reaching out to children, even in the most remote of areas
WFP reaches out to community schools located in remote areas that are cut off from formal education centres. Community schools, such as this one located in Minya governorate in Upper Egypt, cater to the most vulnerable segments of the population.
Want to learn more or support WFP’s efforts in Egypt? Click here to visit their website.