Last month, a USDA/McGovern-Dole Programme Monitoring Mission, composed of Paul Alberghine, Programme Specialist for Health and Nutrition/Food Assistance Division, Washington and Dwight Wilder, Agricultural Attache/USDA Vietnam, made a trip to Pursat province to visit students receiving WFP food assistance; to observe an MCHN session for mothers and their young children; and to talk to WFP’s Government and NGO partners.
The team witnessed the early morning cooking and breakfast distribution at Kaoh Chamlang Primary School where the children enjoyed a healthy meal of rice, yellow split peas, fortified oil, salt and canned fish, mixed with vegetables from the school garden. The school director, school feeding management committee, cooks and community members were happy to exchange ideas about the programme and requested USDA to continue their support.
After the school visit, the delegation visited the homes of the recipients of the scholarship programme, which proved to be an eye-opener on the living conditions of the rural poor. Their visit to an MCHN distribution site at Prek Khlong Pagoda in Phnom Kravanh district, proved heartwarming as mothers gratefully told them how happy they were about the improvement of their and their children’s health. The delegation saw firsthand the components of the MCHN programme: cooking demonstrations, educational activities and distribution of a monthly take-home food ration of fortified Corn Soya Blend (CSB), fortified vegetable oil and sugar to pregnant and lactating women and young children.
The United States is one of the largest donors of WFP Cambodia. USDA has been providing over US$5 million annually to WFP’s School Feeding and MCHN programme over recent years, thus supporting more than 90,000 primary school students and 12,300 mothers and children in Cambodia.
The generous support of USDA and other donors are essential to support the Royal Government of Cambodia to develop and implement effective national structures and systems that can continue to benefit the people of Cambodia.
Edith Heines, WFP Cambodia Deputy Country Director, expressed sincere thanks for the support of USDA to WFP’s programme in the country. “For 90,000 school children this has meant they could stay in school, concentrate and improve educational outcomes. For pregnant and lactating women and young children, the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programme has provided them with the food and knowledge they need to make a difference for their newborns,” she said.