CAIRO: The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and Egypt s Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation today launched WFP s new five-year Country Program (2007-2011) which aims to reduce poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition among nearly 400,000 of the poorest Egyptians.
The operation, costing US$44 million, will focus on technical assistance to strengthen the Egyptian Government s capacity to reform its safety-net programmes and address the food needs of the poor; as well as integrating internationally successful food-based models into the country s national programmes.
HE Minister Amin Abaza and WFP Representative and Country Director Bishow Parajuli formally signed the new contract yesterday evening at the Ministry of Agriculture in Cairo.
We will continue to focus on strengthening our cooperation with the Government during the coming period, said Bishow Parajuli, WFP s Country Director in Egypt. Experience and history have showed us that development efforts are sustained only in the presence of strong partnership between people, governments and aid agencies, he added.
In the new operation, a food-for-education component will ensure the health and nutritional status of children in rural areas by providing daily snacks in some of the poorest governorates. Additionally, WFP, in collaboration with the Government and other partners, aims to expand early childhood education from 13 percent of the population to 60 percent by 2010. In Upper Egypt, a special emphasis has been placed on increasing the school attendance of girls, particularly in areas where their enrolment is very low.
Through WFP s partnership with the Government of Egypt, physical, human and social assets will be created to increase income from agriculture, livestock and supporting services. Some 75,000 poor and vulnerable people from Upper Egypt and Bedouin communities will benefit from this component over the next four years.
The nature of WFP s work in Egypt has changed due to the socio-economic breakthroughs achieved by the Government, said Parajuli. We have begun the transition process with the conviction that the country is moving forward in its development and the most vulnerable people will be taken care of by the government when this operation ends in 2011, he added.
Egypt has been a recipient of WFP aid since 1963. The UN agency has assisted Egypt during humanitarian crises and in development activities which improve the food-security status and quality of life for thousands of Egyptians, with particular emphasis on women and children. The total amount of assistance delivered over more than four decades amounts to US$637 million.