The World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport have distributed family food parcels to holders of the IDPoor equity cards and children enrolled in schools in five provinces.
In a press release on June 29, WFP said the distribution of family food parcels to 39,650 vulnerable households benefitted nearly 200,000 people in the provinces – Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat.
“The assistance benefits families who have been identified as vulnerable by local authorities, and hold the national IDPoor equity card and have children enrolled in the schools supported by the WFP and education ministry school meals programme,” it said.
WFP representative in Cambodia Claire Conan said the distribution of food by WFP and the ministry complemented other social assistance programmes by the government, which have expanded in recent months. The programme will contribute to meeting the needs of vulnerable households and ensure children do not miss out on food during the Covid-19 crisis.
“We are deeply grateful to all partners for their support, especially the education ministry and the National Social Protection Council” she said.
She continued that this was the fourth round of food distribution to lessen the hardship caused by Covid-19 on vulnerable households. Distribution is through school networks with the support of education departments, school administrations, commune and village authorities, and NGOs.
Rations included 25kg of rice, canned fish and vegetable oil.
WFP was also working with the education ministry and others to improve school infrastructure and facilities in preparation for a safe return to school, she added.
WFP said that in normal times, the school meals programme provided meals to 223,000 children in 908 schools in the five provinces.
WFP stated that good nutrition was important for children’s mental and physical development and school meals increase students’ concentration and help them study, contributing to improved educational outcomes while relieving economic burdens on households.
Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak and school closures, children have missed out on the nutritious cooked breakfasts. This has particularly affected children from the poorest families, many of whom have also suffered from loss of livelihoods and income.
WFP said the school meal programme, including food distribution, was made possible with the support of the governments of Cambodia and Japan, Korea International Cooperation Agency, and the US Department of Agriculture.