DHAKA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education to distribute take-home food rations to nearly 3 million school children across Bangladesh who are missing out on their school meals due to school closures caused by the spread of the coronavirus.

“COVID-19 has affected thousands of families’ access to affordable, nutritious food,” said Md. Akram Al Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Bangladesh Government.

“With our partnership with WFP, we are protecting vulnerable children from malnutrition and also helping their families cope with the impact of the crisis by sending food to their homes” he added.

“In this challenging time, it is imperative to ensure that school children and their families continue to receive support that addresses their food and nutritional needs,” says Richard Ragan, WFP Country Director in Bangladesh. “We thank the Government for keeping this critical source of nutrition available to children by making this adjustment to its school feeding program.”

From now until the end of June, more than 7,400 metric tons of high-energy biscuits will be delivered to children at home. Children from 15,200 primary schools across 104 regions of the country will receive 75-gram packets of biscuits, with WFP distributing them in 10 regions of Cox’s Bazar and the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the Directorate of Primary Education in 94 regions.

With schools closed, school children across the country are left without the meals they regularly received at school, for many – their only meal of the day. High-energy biscuits are rich in vitamins and nutrients that are essential for their growth and development.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media, @WFPAsiaPacific, @WFPUSA

I recently had the privilege of meeting 12-year-old Shrity, who attends the Sher-e-Bangla Government Primary School in Mirpur, Dhaka. She’s one of the 3 million Bangladeshi children who receive school meals and snacks from their national government and from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). And she lives in a slum.

She’s one of about 100 people from 16 families living in just one alleyway of the Imam Nagar slum — sharing four toilets and one makeshift kitchen.

DHAKA – The World Food Programme (WFP) governing body, the Executive Board, visited Bangladesh to see the agency’s humanitarian response for families living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, and support to the host communities.

Led by the President of the Executive Board, H.E. Hisham Mohamed Badr of Egypt, the delegation comprised of representatives from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Poland and Switzerland.

“As members of the Executive Board of WFP, we were here to learn about how WFP is carrying out its mandate in achieving Zero Hunger in one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and also providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to nearly one million people in Cox’s Bazar,” explained Ambassador Badr. “We were pleased to hear from both the Government of Bangladesh and United Nations partners of the exemplary cooperation with WFP on the ground.’”

With the influx of the Rohingya refugees two years ago, WFP’s operations have drastically increased. Today, the agency provides food assistance to 85 percent of the camp residents, through either in-kind food or e-vouchers. With the latter, families receive monthly entitlements on a pre-paid assistance card and use them to buy a variety of foods at WFP-contracted outlets. E-vouchers greatly improve their access to a more diverse range of foods, while encouraging production of food locally and stimulating the local economy.

Sitting on an extremely disaster-prone area, the camps are becoming much safer with the ongoing engineering works implemented jointly by WFP, IOM and UNHCR. Under the partnership, 50,000 sqm of road was built, 85,000 sqm of existing road repaired and 280,000 sqm of slopes stabilized. Through another joint project with FAO and IOM, close to 1 million trees were planted as part of the reforestation effort. These activities were made possible with the participation of camp residents and members of the host communities.

The President of the Board and his delegation were particularly impressed with WFP’s work for children and women both inside and outside the camps.  Through partnerships with other United Nations agencies and NGOs, WFP provides school meals for 380,000 children across Cox’s Bazar. On each school day, children get micronutrient-fortified biscuits as a snack, along with access to an essential learning package of health, nutrition and hygiene services.

“The lives of the families are still very difficult,” reflected President Badr. “Despite many challenges, WFP, with the collaboration of so many partners, is doing an amazing job in keeping children healthy, well-nourished and educated, and the lives of their families a bit more comfortable with each passing day. We wish to thank the host communities and the Government of Bangladesh for their generous hospitality and compassion for the Rohingya people. Their solidarity and support are deeply appreciated by the international community which must continue its support. My colleagues and I are leaving Cox’s Bazar and Bangladesh with a message of love: love these children, protect them, educate them, and give them all we can to ensure that they grow up – no matter where they might be in the future – with nothing but hope and love.”


The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

  • Seetashma Thapa, WFP/Dhaka, Mob. +880 17 1301 2386
  • Maherin Ahmed WFP/Dhaka, Mob. +8801755642160

DHAKA – The World Food Programme (WFP) is working together with the Government of Bangladesh to assist more than 275,000 people affected by flooding in the north-west of the country, activating for the first time an innovative forecast-based financing project.

“Home to more than 700 rivers, Bangladesh is increasingly seeing the impact of climate change. Erratic monsoon and downpours are causing severe floods,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Representative and Country Director in Bangladesh.

“WFP is using a combination of cash and food to urgently meet the basic needs of more than a quarter million people whose homes and agricultural lands have been inundated.”

To mitigate the impact of the severe flooding, the Government of Bangladesh and WFP have activated their forecast-based financing project for the first time. This innovative approach uses weather forecasts to trigger early actions, such as cash transfers, that can help reduce the impact of natural disasters in conjunction with existing disaster relief interventions.

Around 5,000 households (25,000 people) received $53 through mobile money transfers in Kurigram district as part of the project. Cash was distributed to the most vulnerable, including families headed by disabled people, the elderly and single women. The assistance helped people pay for basic needs such as food and other urgently needed goods and services.

WFP is supporting more than 250,000 people in three north western districts with fortified biscuits that will sustain them for three days as an immediate response to the floods. The biscuits are often used in emergencies as they are nutritious, easy to transport and do not need cooking.

The Bangladesh Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief reports that 2.3 million people have been affected in 20 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts. WFP is closely monitoring the floods in coordination with the Government and we stand ready to assist further, should the situation deteriorate.


The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future. Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media @wfp_asiapacific

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Seetashma Thapa, WFP/Dhaka: Mob. +88 01713012386

Maherin Ahmed, WFP/Dhaka: Mob. +88 01755642160

Jane Howard, WFP/Rome: Tel. +39 06 6513 2321, Mob. +39 346 7600521

Herve Verhoosel, WFP/Geneva: Mob. +41 798428057

Steve Taravella, WFP/New York: Tel. +1-646-556-6909, Mob.+1-202-770-5993

DHAKA– The World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Government of Bangladesh to lift rural women out of extreme poverty through a ground-breaking program. With an investment of $72 million, the Government, with technical assistance from WFP, is set to reach 100,000 women with livelihood training, behavior change education and food assistance.

The participants of the Investment Component for Vulnerable Group Development (ICVGD) program come from all 64 districts of the country, residing in remote areas that are prone to natural disasters, such as floods, tornadoes and cyclones. They face high poverty levels with low employment opportunities.

“WFP applauds the Government for its commitment towards empowering women and achieving food security in Bangladesh,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Representative and Country Director in Bangladesh.

“Thanks to commitments like this, rural women will now have a chance to transform their lives and that of their children through skills and knowledge.”

Currently in its second phase, the program consists of training in entrepreneurship, financial management and life skills, as well as behavior change education in the areas of nutrition, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene. Each participant will receive a start-up grant of $180 and a monthly ration of 66 pounds of fortified rice during their training period.

During the first phase of this program, which started in 2015, 8,000 rural women were provided with similar support. An evaluation of the first phase showed improvements in income, food security and dietary diversity of these women and their families. A positive change in their decision-making ability was also observed.

Run by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, ICVGD is part of the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) program, which is the largest safety net program targeting extremely poor and vulnerable women and their households in Bangladesh.


The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_asiapacific @wfpgovts

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

  • Seetashma Thapa, WFP/Dhaka, Mob. +88 01713012386
  • Maherin Ahmed, WFP/Dhaka, Mob. +88 01755642160
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