Italy, WFP partner to provide meals for Jordan schoolchildren

Italian Ambassador Fabio Cassese, WFP representative Alberto Correia Mendes, and head of AICS Amman, Michele Morana, during a signing ceremony in Amman, on Monday. (Photo: Handout from the Italian embassy)
AMMAN — Italy and the UN World Food Program (WFP) signed an agreement on Monday to provide 1.5 million euro to support the National School Feeding Program in Jordan.اضافة اعلان

WFP’s school feeding project targets a total of 420,000 Jordanian and refugee school children in communities and in Syrian refugee camps every year.

Italian Ambassador in Amman Fabio Cassese, and WFP representative Alberto Correia Mendes signed the agreement during a ceremony attended by the head of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Amman, Michele Morana, a statement from the Italian embassy said. 

The contribution from Italy through the AICS, will support 16,000 students in 325 schools across Jordan, according to the statement. 

The funds will also provide job opportunities to vulnerable Jordanians and Syrians, especially women and people with disabilities, who will work in the program’s kitchens, preparing healthy snacks to be distributed to school children, according to the statement.

The project will be implemented in Mafraq, Ajloun, Irbid, Karak, Balqa, Zarqa and Madaba, and in the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps, during the upcoming 2021/2022 academic year, when restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic ease and children return to schools.

“Access to food remains a challenge for Syrian refugees, particularly as families have little opportunity for work due to the pandemic, and are now struggling to pay their food, rent and healthcare. The lack of household income has also forced vulnerable refugees to send their children to work instead of keeping them in education,” the statement said.

“This assistance has various and positive impacts on the population: it reduces the drop outs from school and helps increase the enrollment rate of students,” AICS Amman Director Michele Morana was quoted as saying in the statement. 

For his part, Cassese said that this agreement “complements the efforts of Italy in supporting the Jordanian government’s strategy to improve education and food security, in line with the Jordan response plan to the Syrian crisis and with the national priorities that include optimizing social protection systems, tackling unemployment and increasing women’s participation in the labor market.”

“Children concentrate better when they are not hungry; many teachers have told us the classes are more productive and focused when children receive these snacks. We look forward to children’s healthy and safe return to school next semester,” said Correia Mendes said. 

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