CARACAS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is expanding its school meals program in Venezuela to reach more than 110,000 students and school staff in the northwest of the country, building on a pilot program that started in July 2021 in the state of Falcón.

Extending school meals support beyond Falcón to the states of Barinas, Trujillo and Yaracuy, the U.N. World Food Programme will gradually increase the monthly food rations it distributes in 1,000 pre-primary and special education schools. The program targets schoolchildren under the age of six in areas identified by the U.N. World Food Programme as most affected by hunger. The long-term goal is to provide meals in 11 Venezuelan states, reaching up to 1.5 million people by the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

“What the children receive today will have a positive effect on them for the rest of their lives,” said Marco Selva, the U.N. World Food Programme’s deputy country director in Venezuela. “This expansion reaffirms our commitment to provide nutritious food to children at this critical stage, when their brains and bodies need it to reach their full potential.”

“We have received very positive feedback from parents in Falcón who, after several cycles of distribution, tell us that their children are livelier, putting on weight and eager to go to school,” Selva added.

In total, more than 156,000 U.N. World Food Programme take-home rations have been collected at schools in the state of Falcón by parents or guardians on behalf of schoolchildren since July. The rations, which aim to cover the caloric requirements of young children for a month, consist of 13 pounds of rice, nine pounds of lentils, one pound of iodized salt and one liter of vegetable oil.

The pilot phase in Falcón was carried out in coordination with school authorities and teachers, and in partnership with non-governmental organizations. The U.N. World Food Programme manages its own supply chain, from purchasing food to distributing rations in schools.

Preparations are underway for the U.N. World Food Programme’s rations to be provided to children in schools, as in-person classes have now resumed after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.N. World Food Programme engineers are evaluating school kitchens and cafeterias to ensure that hot meals can be safely cooked and served on location.

The U.N. World Food Programme is grateful to international donors that have confirmed funding towards operations in Venezuela which will guarantee implementation of the program until April 2022. The U.N. World Food Programme remains in conversation with potential donors to secure additional funding so that vulnerable Venezuelan children get a head start in life.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media and @wfp_es

CARACAS –  The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) started its school meals program in Venezuela this week, with the first distributions of take-home food rations to children enrolled in 277 pre-primary schools and to their schools’ staff in all municipalities in the state of Falcón.

Schoolchildren under the age of six, in areas identified by the U.N. World Food Programme as the most affected by food insecurity, are at the center of its program that will progressively expand to other Venezuelan states to reach 185,000 people by the end of this year, 850,000 by the end of the 2021-2022 school year and 1.5 million by the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

“We are reaching these vulnerable children at a critical stage of their lives when their brains and bodies need nutritious food to develop to their full potential,” said Susana Rico, U.N. World Food Programme Representative a.i. in Venezuela, during the first distribution on Tuesday at the Antonio Dolores school, in the town of Coro. “Schools like this are more than just a place to learn, they are a pillar of the community and offer a golden opportunity to provide small children with what they need to help them thrive.”

Parents or guardians collect the take-home rations on behalf of their children from the schools where they are enrolled. The monthly ration for each child under the age of six is made up of 13 pounds of rice, 20 pounds of lentils, 1 pound of iodized salt and 1 liter of vegetable oil. Once pre-primary schools reopen, the U.N. World Food Programme will help rehabilitate canteens and train staff in food safety practices to start serving nutritious hot meals. Schools are currently closed in Venezuela due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.N. World Food Programme started its school meals program just over two months after signing an agreement in April 2021 with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela whereby the U.N. World Food Programme can establish a presence in the country and commence its humanitarian operation.

For the implementation of its school meals program, the U.N. World Food Programme is managing its own supply chain, from purchasing food to distributing it in schools. The program is carried out in coordination with school authorities and teachers, and in partnership with local non-governmental organizations.

The U.N. World Food Programme is grateful to the international donors who have confirmed funding or made pledges for nearly $30 million, that will guarantee the implementation of its operations in Venezuela until the end of the year. As a voluntarily funded humanitarian organization, the U.N. World Food Programme remains in conversations with potential donors to secure additional funding to ensure that vulnerable Venezuelan children have a head start in life.

Note to the editor:

High resolution photos available here.

Video footage available here.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_es

CARACAS– The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has moved its first food supplies to its logistics hub in Maracaibo, Venezuela, as it prepares to launch its school meals program for vulnerable schoolchildren and school employees in the country.

As schools in Venezuela are currently closed, the U.N. World Food Programme will provide take-home rations that include rice, lentils, salt and vegetable oil, prioritizing school children under the age of six in areas most affected by food insecurity. The 42,000 food packages arriving in Maracaibo will be distributed in the first month of operation.

The U.N. World Food Programme aims to progressively reach up to 185,000 children and school personnel by the end of this year and 1.5 million by the end of the 2022-2023 school year. The U.N. World Food Programme will manage its own supply chain, from purchasing food to distributing it in schools.

TheU.N. World Food Programme’s work in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will focus on the provision of nutritious school meals, the rehabilitation of school canteens and the training of school staff to observe and implement the highest food safety practices.

Note to the editor:

High resolution photos available here.

Video footage available here.

#                 #                   #

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@wfp_media and @WFP_es

PANAMA CITY– The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has reached an agreement to commence operations in Venezuela with the priority of serving the most vulnerable children.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s operations in Venezuela and the world over are guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence.

“We are grateful for the great support we received from all parties, who agreed with these principles”, said David Beasley, U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the U.N. World Food Programme signed today a memorandum of understanding whereby the U.N. World Food Programme will establish a presence in the country and commence the humanitarian operation.

The U.N. World Food Programme will provide nutritious school meals to children, particularly in pre-primary and special education schools, as well as invest in the rehabilitation of school canteens and training school staff on food safety practices.

“With this agreement, the U.N. World Food Programme will move forward with its plan to progressively reach 1.5 million children in schools in the areas most affected by food insecurity,” said Beasley. “The children and the schools will be at the centre of our operation. We believe the school is the most appropriate platform for the U.N. World Food Programme to reach communities in an independent manner.”

The U.N. World Food Programme operation will reach up to 185,000 children by the end of this year. Through a phased scale-up, the U.N. World Food Programme will aim to provide daily meals to 1.5 million students by the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Its expected annual budget of $190 million is part of the Venezuela Humanitarian Response Plan.

“We are relying on the support of the international donor community to back our operation in Venezuela,” said Beasley.

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