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WFP and El Salvador Announce Handover of School Meals Programme

SAN SALVADOR --The Government of El Salvador and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that the country’s school meals programme, in the past supported by WFP, is now fully owned and implemented by the Ministry of Education.

As of May, the ministry has full control of the National School Food and Health Programme, which include the purchase, supply and delivery of school snacks, nutritious lunches for Inclusive Schools Full Time (EITP), school orchard projects and healthy school shops.

"After 30 years of cooperation with school feeding programmes in El Salvador, we at WFP share the country’s pride in this achievement.  El Salvador joins a growing list of countries that have prioritised this important investment in their children’s future," said the WFP Representative, Dorte Ellehammer.

WFP supported the implementation of the School Food and Health Programme from 1984 until now and has provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Education to help it meet global quality standards.

The purpose of the School Food and Health Programme is to improve the quality of life of children through a school snack or a nutritious lunch that supports their learning process, increasing enrolment and reducing drop-out rates while encouraging good practices in health, food and nutrition.

The programme currently provides 1.3 million students in close to 5,000 rural and urban schools with daily snacks in the early hours of the school day or nutritious lunches for schools in the inclusive Schools Full Time.

WFP’s policy is to support government institutions until such time as they have the frameworks, funding and overall capacity to run a sustainable school meals programme. In El Salvador, the Ministry of Education set up a sustainability strategy and secured funding under the government’s Universal Social Protection System.

The national budget for school feeding in 2013 has risen to USD 22.4 million from the general budget and about USD 2.3 million from FANTEL (funds from the privatization of state telecoms group ANTEL). This increase has allowed an additional 150,000 high school students to receive daily school meals.