ECONOMYNEXT – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has committed 32.5 million US dollars to Sri Lanka for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Programme, a US food assistance initiative, for a period of five years.
The US embassy in Colombo said the programme is a food assistance initiative that reduces hunger and improves literacy and primary education and over 200,000 Sri Lankan children will benefit from the funds.
By providing school meals, teacher training and related support, the embassy said, McGovern-Dole projects help boost school enrollment and academic performance.
“Building on an existing initiative implemented by Save the Children in collaboration with Sri Lankan government counterparts, more than 200,000 Sri Lankan children will benefit from this initiative in the districts of Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Monaragala, Ratnapura, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, and Colombo over the coming five years,” the embassy sad.
US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said she has seen the “transformative impact” of the school feeding programme on the lives of Sri Lankan children, adding that the US remains steadfast in its support for Sri Lanka’s school feeding initiative.
“These programs are vital, enhancing nutrition and education for children across the country, and reflect our enduring commitment to the people of Sri Lanka,” Chung was quoted as saying.
This new funding is a continuation of the USDA-supported Promoting Autonomy for Literacy and Attentiveness through Market Alliances (PALAM/A), a 27.5 million-dollar project whereby Save the Children, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Finance, supports over 95,000 children in 852 schools in seven districts (Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Moneragala, Ratnapura, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, and Trincomalee), providing nutritious meals as part of the government’s School Meal Programme, the embassy said.
“The project furthers the development of children’s literacy skills, teachers’ professional training, and supports improvements in inclusive safe drinking-water, improved kitchen facilities, and sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools.
“The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program helps support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries around the globe. The programme provides for the donation of US agricultural commodities, as well as financial and technical assistance, to support school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects,” the statement said. (Colombo/Nov18/2023)