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WFP launches school feeding program in South Sudan

Children visibly pleased after getting their share of school milk. FILE PHOTO

Juba, South Sudan | Xinhua | The World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday launched a school feeding program aimed at supporting 23,000 children over the next three years in highly food-insecure areas of South Sudan.

Mary-Ellen McGroarty, country director for WFP in South Sudan, said during the launching ceremony in the South Sudanese capital of Juba that the support will be channeled into areas impacted by conflict and climate shocks, both of which cause significant disruptions to education and access to food.

“When conflict or climate shocks strike a community, impacting livelihoods and food availability, schooling is often one of the first things to be deprioritized by families,” said McGroarty.

South Sudanese Minister of General Education and Instruction Awut Deng Acuil said school feeding is a fundamental aspect of education in the country. “Data from the annual education census 2021 indicated that schools that have a feeding program are better attended than schools that do not provide feeding.”

“Therefore, if we want to address the problem of out-of-school children in South Sudan, we must provide feeding in schools to retain our children and especially those who are vulnerable,” said Acuil.

Prolonged school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic caused enrolment rates to plummet across the country and a slow uptake in enrolment when they reopened in early 2021.

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