The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with the coordination of Government of Nepal has distributed nearly 1,500 metric tonnes fortified rice, lentils and vegetable oil to school children (from Grade1-8) who are missing out on nutritious school lunches they used to receive in Sudur Paschim and Karnali provinces.

 The food items were donated by the United States.

The closure of schools has put the future of millions of children around the world at risk, affecting not only their ability to learn but also their access to nutritious food and health-support schemes.

Since March, 2.4 million children in Nepal have been missing out on the nutritious lunches they used to receive at school — the only proper meals many of them could count on.  The donation from the United States will support 150,000 of the most vulnerable households in the area.

“The United States is proud to stand together with Nepal in supporting and protecting the most vulnerable among us. Our partnership with the United Nations World Food Program and the Government of Nepal to distribute rations to school children in Sudur Paschim and Karnali provinces will help 150,000 families through these difficult times,” a press release issued by WFP quoted American Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry as saying.

Since 2005, the U.S. Government’s (USG) McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been supporting the WFP school meals programme in Nepal.

With a total contribution of more than $81 million, McGovern-Dole has helped over 250,000 children access daily nutritious lunches through WFP’s school meals programme.

“The lockdown has put a far greater burden on parents to provide their children with balanced and nutritious meals at home,” said Pippa Bradford, WFP Country Director and Representative.

“These take-home rations will provide an interim respite for these families until children return to school – while facilitating at-home learning. We are thankful to the United States as our long-standing partner in support of school children and rural families in Nepal, especially in these uncertain times.”