The European Union (EU) in cooperation with the World Food Program (WFP) launched a €60 million (LE551 million) project to fight child labour in Egypt, according to a statement issued Sunday.
Head of the EU delegation to Egypt, James Moran, said "the EU is happy to cooperate with WFP in fighting the child labour phenomenon in Egypt, in addition to concentrating on girls’ education," the published statement on the official WFP website read.
He also added that the EU seeks to work with the government and civil society organisations "on such a critical issue.”
The project will work with 100,000 children in 16 governorates every year for four years, the statement said.
The project will focus on Upper Egypt, where children receive a daily snack meal of "date biscuits" that will provide them with 25 percent of their daily nutritional needs.
Families that continue to send their children to the school will receive monthly ration commodities in lieu of the wages that the child were to receive if he or she was working.
The programme will support 50,000 families – especially mothers – to start income generating activities that will help to keep children in schools.
According to a study by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisations and Statistics and International Labour Organisation in 2010, 13 percent of the population at school-age in Egypt left schools to enter the labour market. The EU statement said that among 11 million children in Egypt there are 2.7 million in the labour market.
"Through providing the motivation, food assistance and the livelihood, we aim to support the children to joining the schools, and to keep the most weak children in schools, especially the girls," Lubna Alaman the Representative & Country Director at WFP in Egypt said according to UN statement.
Alaman added that the project supports the national school feeding program in Egypt, which is considered to be a safety net for the country’s poorest families while supporting the government to develop the legal framework for child labour.
The project continues the role of the EU and WFP in combating child labour and encouraging education in Egypt. As of 2014, more than 650,000 Egyptians will benefit from WFP projects across the country.
WFP has been operating in Egypt since 1963 and has provided approximately LE4.7 billion ($681 million) worth of assistance to the most vulnerable groups in the population and communities with a particular focus in Upper Egypt.
*Ahram Online apologises for incorrectly citing the UN and not the European Union as a co-sponsor of the project.