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Zeinab comes from the upper Egyptian town of Fayoum about 100 km southwest of Cairo. Her family receives food every month as long as she goes to school 85 percent of the time. Zeinab also gets a nutritious snack during the school day to boost her energy and help her concentrate during class.
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Egyptian Schoolgirl Answers 10 Questions
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Zeinab, 11, a schoolgirl from Upper Egypt, is keen on school and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. In this short interview she tells us about her life, her family, her favourite food (and how to cook it).

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Egypt is a low-income, food-deficit country, with 19.6 percent of the population – almost 14.2 million people – living below the lower poverty line, on less than US$1/day.

Stark geographical disparities exist between the region of Upper Egypt, desert areas in Sinai and the Red Sea – which are some of the country’s poorest areas with high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition; and between the more developed Lower Egypt region -- where Egypt’s manufacturing, construction and trading take place. 

WFP Activities

WFP Egypt’s 2007-2011 operation, which will reach up to 396,000 people at a cost of over US$44 million, aims to improve food security and strengthen human capital and income generation in the poorest parts of the country – mainly Upper Egypt, Sinai and the Red Sea, with a special focus on women and children.Through its various activities, WFP supports improving the nutritional status of its beneficiaries. WFP current activities include:

  • Capacity Building in which WFP provides technical support to the Government’s food-based social protection schemes – food subsidy, and school meals. This will help ensure a smooth handover of WFP’s food-assistance activities in 2011. WFP is also helping the Government implement a project to fortify flour that is used to make baladi bread, with iron and folic acid to curb rising rates of iron-deficiency anaemia. The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has allocated US$3 million to the project. WFP will phase out its role after three years, when the government is able to continue implementing the programme.
  • School meals supports Egypt’s existing school-feeding programme in addition to providing food aid to students in some of the poorest areas to encourage enrolment and attendance rates especially of girls and vulnerable working and street children. In September 2006, WFP launched a project with the World Bank and Canada, to support Egypt’s goal to expand early childhood education from 13 percent of the population to 60 percent by 2010. WFP will provide daily snacks to over half a million pre-school children. WFP also launched a programme in 2006 with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF to withdraw and prevent 10,300 children from entering the labour market in three governorates in Upper Egypt and the Red Sea.
  • Asset Creation to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable communities along the Nile Valley and in Sinai and the southern Red Sea governorate. There’s a focus on women who benefit from land-ownership and micro-credit schemes to purchase livestock and start small businesses.
Threats to Food Security: 
  • Poverty
  • Environmental conditions
  • Low education
  • Limited income-generating activities
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Visit WFP's Arabic website and our Facebook page.

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Facts and Figures
Desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters. Except for modest amounts of rainfall along Mediterranean coast, precipitation ranges from minimal to nonexistent.
Vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Food production: 
Cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats
Annual harvest: 
Winter Harvest: March-April Summer Harvest: August
Agricultural production (% of GDP): 
Human Development Index: 
Children under weight for age (% of children under 5): 
Population undernourished (% of total pop.): 
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infant mortality rate per 1000 live birth - 2005 UNDP : 
Crisis Active: 
No Crisis