The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Bank of Alexandria signed a memorandum on Wednesday to provide poor children in Upper Egypt's Beni Suef governorate with healthy snacks to boost their concentration and ensure their attendance at school.
Sohag in Upper Egypt had been the target of previous cooperation between the WFP and private banks in Egypt. Now the governorate of Beni Suef is to receive the same aid. The Bank of Alexandria will finance the initiative with LE1 million.
Fifteen hundred children in 53 schools -- with a special emphasis on girls -- in addition to 6000 members of their families, will be provided with meals fortified with Vitamin A and iron.
A key prerequisite is that only those whose attendance exceeds 80 per cent will receive the food, thus improving the children’s health and ensuring their attendance at school.
Roberto Firchelli, CEO of Bank of Alexandria, said: "We are proud to be one of the pioneers in that regard in the banking system in Egypt."
WFP Egypt director Lobna Alaman also emphasised the programme's dual aim of improving child health and encouraging school attendance. "It is a pleasure that the private sector is contributing to efforts to encourage school children in underprivileged parts of Egypt and in such challenging circumstances to keep them going to school," she said.
The quantity of rice given to the families is almost equal to the amount that could be bought with the earnings of the child if he or she was working.
WFP is the largest food-aid entity in the world, reaching out to help feed around ninety million people each year in more than eighty countries.