The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded $5m to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in support of 40,000 vulnerable women and children across Egypt.
The announcement of the grant was made at a press conference, on Sunday, attended by: US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan R. Cohen; Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Kabbaj; Assistant Minister of International Cooperation Sherihan Bekheit; Programmes Director at WFP Amani Gamaleldin; and USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed.
The grant will complement the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity’s national social protection Takaful and Karama programme, by providing six months of food assistance to 40,000 vulnerable pregnant and nursing women and children under the age of two in Egypt.
It will also connect 500 mothers who fall under the social safety net system with micro loans and business training, on which they will be able to support themselves and their families.
“This new $5m award builds upon our longstanding partnership with UN agencies here in Egypt to help the most vulnerable Egyptians and refugees,” Ambassador Cohen said.
He added that over the past eight years, the US has granted $87m to the WFP, to provide emergency food assistance in Egypt.
For her part, Minister El-Kabbaj said that poverty is related to poor education, heath, and a lack of awareness on proper health and care practices.
“This is why the Ministry places emphasis on maternal and child health because, it reflects the overall health status of the population and is a core prerequisite for sustainable development, hence the focus on the first 1,000 Days of Life programme,” she continued.
She added, “We are proud to partner with the World Food Programme to implement this programme, which is currently funded by the USAID, reaching the most vulnerable children under two years, pregnant and lactating mothers in the poorest governorates, ensuring they have access to their essential food needs.”
Meanwhile, on behalf of the Minister of International Cooperation, Bekhit said that the inclusive economic growth is at the core of Egypt’s road map to achieving sustainable development.
“Together with the US government, we continue building community resilience, through meaningful and relevant programmes, to protect health, food security, and the most vulnerable,” she added.
Speaking on behalf of the WFP Country Director Menghestab Haile, Amany Gamaleldin said that the US, through its development arm USAID, is among the WFP’s most notable partners.
“Thanks to this timely contribution, the WFP is able to build on its longstanding partnership with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, and complement the [Egyptian] government’s efforts to support the poorest and most vulnerable,” she said.
Gamaleldin said that the WFP will use these funds to continue to support the nutritional needs of mothers and their children in the wider community.