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N'DJAMENA - For the first time since the beginning of its operations in Chad 50 years ago, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of 182 metrics tons of food from the Chadian government for its school meals programme. The donation is worth US$400,000 dollars (almost FCFA 200 million).

"We were delighted to receive this first donation from the Chadian government,” said Lauren Landis, WFP Chad Country Director. “It shows recognition of the need for WFP food assistance in the schools and highlights the strong partnership between the Government and WFP, aiming at encouraging the enrolment of children in school in Chad.”

Every morning, hundreds of children go to school on an empty stomach in Chad. This prevents them from concentrating on their lessons and makes them less likely to attend school regularly. To address this problem, WFP is working with the Ministry of Education and Literacy in proving school meals to more than 800 schools in the Sahelian belt, which is the part of the country most affected by food insecurity. Hot meals, served daily to more than 200,000 students, encourage them to attend school and provides an incentive for their families to send them to school rather than to work in the fields.

Through this school meals programme, WFP hopes to strengthen its partnership with the Government and with local farmers, in order for most of the food required for the school meal programme to be grown and purchased locally. This not only helps support the local economy but also means the whole community is involved in this school meals initiative.

To mark the contribution received from the Chadian Government, WFP is today holding a ceremony at WFP’s warehouses in Chagoua, where the food for school meals is stored before being dispatched to the various institutions.

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.

For more information, please contact Loyse Tabin, Reports/Public Information Officer, N’Djamena, Chad ( )