The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and United Nations World Food Program (WFP) World Food Program Regional Director Valerie Guarnieri, announced an award for future partnership to provide food-aid in Rwandan schools. The award signing was witnessed by United States Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles and the Rwandan Minister of Agriculture Gerardine Mukeshimana.
Under this award, USDA will provide up to $25 million over five years to the WFP as part of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (McGovern-Dole). McGovern-Dole, first authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill and managed by USDA, works with developing country host governments through multi-year agreements to improve school feeding and maternal and child nutrition programs. Over the past year and a half, the U.S. Embassy has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) to identify areas where the U.S. and Rwandan Governments can collaborate to improve educational and nutrition performance among school children.
The project will operate in four districts where the need is greatest: Rutsiro (Western Province), Karongi (West), Nyamagabe (South), and Nyaruguru (South). Over five years, this assistance will annually provide 15 million meals to 83,000 students in 104 primary schools in these four districts. WFP will partner with World Vision to offer a package of complementary health and literacy interventions.
“By providing school meals, teacher training and related support, McGovern-Dole projects help boost school enrollment and academic performance, with a special focus on girls,” said Harden. “At the same time, the program focuses on improving children’s health and learning capacity before they enter school by offering nutrition programs for pregnant and nursing women, infants and preschoolers.”
In addition to the school feeding project in Rwanda, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced the support for seven new projects in Africa and Central America which could benefit more than 2.5 million children worldwide.