USDA supports 42,000 pry students in Cox's Bazar
DHAKA, Sept 16, 2023 (BSS) - The Department of Agriculture (USDA) today supported about 42,000 students in 140 government primary schools in two upazilas of Cox's Bazar under the school feeding programme.
The USDA provided the assistance in Cox's Bazar Sadar and Ukhiya upazila as the United States has supported the national school feeding programmes in Bangladesh through the USDA, the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Programme, for over two decades, said a press release here.
Their financial support with World Food Programme's (WFP) technical assistance has been critical to the success achieved through the national school feeding programme, it said.
According to the release, school feeding helps combat child hunger and poor nutrition, promote good eating habits among children and improve livelihood opportunities for their communities.
With the provision of nutritious and tasty fortified biscuits as morning snacks, complemented by teacher training, and relevant education and nutrition support, millions of children's lives have changed for the better thanks to improved health, nutrition and learning outcomes.
Since 2010, school enrollment and attendance has increased and students' reading and writing proficiency improved under the national school feeding programme.
"School feeding is more than just filling the empty stomachs of hungry children. It is a sound strategy to combat child hunger and poor nutrition, promoting good eating habits among children and improving livelihood opportunities for their communities," said Dom Scalpelli, Country Director of WFP Bangladesh.
"We are thankful to USDA for its longstanding partnership and generous support, which has been critical to WFP and our assistance to the Government of Bangladesh in their efforts to continuing expanding school feeding to reach more children," he added.
The visit of the USDA comes at a time when the government is planning to start the country's next national school feeding programme. In July, Bangladesh became a member of the International School Meal Coalition (SMC) when the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh made the commitment during the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment in Rome.
Support from USDA remains critical to the successful roll-out of the new school feeding programme, from development, testing and scale up of the systems and structures for the new modality. National School Feeding Programme will significantly contribute towards the development of children, the future of Bangladesh.