Free school meals for 40,000 Ethiopian pupils, thanks to UAE charity
DUBAI// Almost 40,000 primary school pupils in Ethiopia will receive school meals each day for the next three years thanks to a UAE-backed aid programme.
The Dh14.7 million home-grown school feeding (HGSF) project, launched by Dubai Cares, will help 30 schools in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples’ Region (SNNPR).
“We believe we can have a significant impact on the country’s educational environment while also contributing to the local economy,” said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive of Dubai Cares.
Ethiopian officials welcomed the programme and hoped it would boost the local economy as school meals for about 30,700 youngsters would be locally sourced.
“This project will not only stimulate the local economy by purchasing food commodities from the farmer associations, but will also support complementary activities such as deworming, water, hygiene and sanitation to help the children reach their full growth and academic potential,” said Derese Getisa, the representative of the regional education bureau in SNNPR.
Dr Yousuf Al Sabri, the UAE ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, said: “Dubai Cares’ philanthropic efforts in Ethiopia, as well as the humanitarian interventions led by the UAE, reflect the principles of the UAE people and express the government’s direction to provide support to those in need, and make a positive impact on the country’s diplomatic efforts.”
Launched in 2007, Dubai Cares aims to improve children’s access to primary education in developing countries.
It has programmes in 28 countries to help achieve the United Nations 2015 Millennium Development Goals of guaranteeing universal primary education, promoting gender equality and forging a global partnership for development.
Officials yesterday said the schools feeding project supports the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s global education plan, where Ethiopia is a key target.
“From a global perspective, the HGSF programme has a lot of significance and plays a critical role in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal of providing primary education to all children in the world,” said Mr Al Gurg.
Officials said the programme was a “contemporary, cost-effective, nationally-owned and sustainable school health and nutrition model” aimed at boosting primary school enrolment rates, reducing absenteeism and improving the cognitive learning abilities of the children”.
Updated: June 4, 2013 04:00 AM