Take Home Rations From the United States Support Nutrition and Learning for Children in Nepal Amid Covid-19

Photo: WFP/Lilu KC
Published August 5, 2020

KATHMANDU – Fortified rice, lentils and vegetable oil totaling nearly 1,500 metric tons, donated by the United States, have been distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Nepal to school children (from grades 1-8) in rural areas who are missing out on nutritious school lunches they used to receive in Sudur Paschim and Karnali provinces.

The closure of schools is putting the future of millions of children around the world at risk, affecting not only their ability to learn but also their access to nutritious food and health-support schemes.

Since March, 2.4 million children in Nepal have been missing out on the nutritious lunches they used to receive at school — the only proper meals many of them could count on. The donation from the United States will support 150,000 of the most vulnerable households in the area.

“The United States is proud to stand together with Nepal in supporting and protecting the most vulnerable among us. Our partnership with the U.N. World Food Program and the Government of Nepal to distribute rations to school children in Sudur Paschim and Karnali provinces will help 150,000 families through these difficult times,” said American Ambassador to Nepal HE Randy Berry.

Since 2005, the U.S. Government’s (USG) McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been supporting the U.N. World Food Programme school meals program in Nepal. With a total contribution of more than $81 million, McGovern-Dole has helped over 250,000 children access daily nutritious lunches through the U.N. World Food Programme’s school meals program.

“The lockdown has put a far greater burden on parents to provide their children with balanced and nutritious meals at home,” said Pippa Bradford, U.N. World Food Programme Country Director and Representative. “These take home rations will provide an interim respite for these families until children return to school – while facilitating at-home learning. We are thankful to the United States as our long-standing partner in support of school children and rural families in Nepal, especially in these uncertain times.”

In order to shift to long-term, nationally-run school feeding programs, the U.N. World Food Programme has started handing over McGovern-Dole supported schools to the government, with about 95,000 students already integrated into the national school meals program to date. The U.N. World Food Programme, with the support of the USG, has made extra efforts to ensure and widen the supply of local food to schools and expand community ownership. Home Grown School Feeding, a program also supported by USDA, has focused on linking school meals to local agricultural production.

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The U.N. 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.

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Contact: Monica Upadhyay, WFP/Nepal, Mob. +977 985110 5248