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UN World Food Program likely to cut School Meal for 1.3 Million Children in Africa unless it receives $48 million

The vital programs are endangered because of the competing humanitarian crises around the world, says WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher

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FILE - А boy is seen eating dry couscous in the village of Goudoude Diobe, in the Matam region of northeastern Senegal. Image source: VOA

The U.N. World Food Program warns it may be forced to end school meals for more than 1.3 million children in west and central Africa unless it receives $48 million.

School begins in September and October in Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. More than half-a-million children in those countries are likely to be deprived of life-saving school meals, according to the WFP.

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Another 700,000 children in 11 other countries will no longer receive the crucial meals when their schools start later in the year.

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Bettina Luescher, WFP spokeswoman, says the vital programs are endangered because of the competing humanitarian crises around the world.

The situation in west and central Africa is especially critical, she says, because WFP is the sole or main provider of school meals in most of the region.

“Families rely on this. If we cannot deliver this, they often are really stuck,” Luescher said. “What could happen is that families take their children out of school. We have seen that all over the world — if money is being spent on school meals, the whole country will profit, the family will profit, the villages will profit.”

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Without those WFP meals, she says, children who go to school on an empty stomach cannot concentrate, and many will become malnourished.

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“What it means is they … will never be as productive in the long run as other children would be,” Luescher added. “School meals help the children, especially girls, get an education.”

Studies by the WFP on the cost of hunger show that for every dollar invested in school meals, there is an overall $3 to $8 economic return. (VOA)

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    How painful is this… the children suffer only because money is off higher importance!sad!

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Climate Change Affects Developing Countries the Most: UN

The African continent could leverage to its advantage in the global fight against the impacts of climate change

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Climate Change, Developing Countries
the least responsible countries suffer the most from the global threat that emanated from climate change. Pixabay

United Nations officials on Wednesday said developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem.

A joint statement was made by Mary Robinson, Ireland’s former President and UN Special Envoy on El Nino and Climate, and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Vera Songwe during a climate-focused meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Robinson said, “those who suffer the worst effects of climate change are often the least responsible for it”.

She called for the need for climate justice as the least responsible countries suffer the most from the global threat that emanated from climate change, Xinhua news agency reported.

Climate Change, Developing Countries
Developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem. Pixabay

Robinson was appointed UN Special Envoy along with Macharia Kamau of Kenya in 2016 to provide the leadership required to tackle climate-related challenges.

ECA’s Songwe said the African continent could leverage to its advantage in the global fight against the impacts of climate change.

“We didn’t create it, but we can profit the most from it. A climate smart economy is an extremely profitable economy. It’s an economy that will create more jobs and leave us cleaner and better,” Songwe said.

Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Justice Alliance, said during the discussion climate justice was not getting the priority it deserved from governments.

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“Africa is most affected and impacted by climate change, but we don’t do much about it. We need strong governance systems to move the climate discourse and actions forward,” he said.

He urged the ECA to fortify collaboration with the African Union and the African Development Bank in line with the ClimDev-Africa programme that’s mandated by African leaders to create a solid foundation for Africa’s response to climate change. (IANS)