The official handover ceremony took place at WFP’s Cairo office in the presence of the Head of the International Development Cooperation Department of the Saudi Ministry of Finance, Mohamed Ben Saad Al-Hakabani and Counsellor Magdi Al Mansour, representing His Excellency the Saudi Ambassador to Egypt.
“Saudi Arabia has always been supportive of our projects in Egypt and this contribution will enable us to add a highly nutritious item to our food basket,” said WFP Egypt Representative and Country Director Gianpietro Bordignon. “Dates are especially useful for children as they are a good source of energy, vitamin A, and iron, among other essential nutrients.”
WFP will distribute 215 metric tons of dates to more than 60,000 schools children in the poorest and most food-insecure areas in Upper Egypt including Fayoum, Menia, Sohag, Beni Sueif and Assiut governorates. Students’ families will receive the dates as part of a monthly food basket in return for regularly sending their children, especially girls, to school. WFP’s school feeding programme in Egypt combats child labour and encourages girls’ education.
The remaining 135 metric tons of dates will be distributed as food rations to more than 13,000 people in highly vulnerable communities in Upper Egypt, the Red Sea area and in newly developed communities of the High Dam Lake area. They are provided as a compensation for community members who dedicate time and effort in building assets that contribute to enhancing livelihoods and improving food security in their communities.
“We are glad to contribute to important development objectives in Egypt, especially education, through the largest humanitarian agency in the world, namely WFP,” said Saudi Ambassador in Egypt, His Excellency Ahmad Abdelaziz Katan, adding that the Saudi donation of dates to WFP Egypt, has been increased this year to emphasize the bond between the Saudi kingdom and Egypt.
Saudi Arabia has been supporting WFP operations in Egypt since 2007, contributing more than 1850 metric tons of dates to its projects estimated at around US$3 million and the Kingdom is an important contributor to WFP’s operations worldwide. Last year the kingdom donated US$50 million to support WFP’s efforts in Somalia following the worst drought in 60 years.
In 2008, at the time of the high food prices crisis, WFP received US$500 million from Saudi Arabia – the largest one-off donation WFP has ever received, and the Kingdom’s largest-ever contribution to any UN agency. WFP honoured King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for his generous support of the agency’s work.
For more information please contact:
Gianpietro Bordignon, e-mail: Gianpietro.Bordignon@wfp.org Tel. +225281730
Souraya Abo El Saoud, e-mail: Souraya.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +225281730, ext. 4460