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President Clinton Announces New Steps to Improve Nutrition and Education for Children in Developing Countries

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President Clinton Announces New Steps to Improve Nutrition and Education for Children in Developing Countries

December 28, 2000

Today, President Clinton will announce $300 million in implementation grants for the Global Food for Education Initiative (GFEI), a pilot program to promote better nutrition and school enrollment for needy children in poor countries. The GFEI program grants will allow approximately 9 million children to receive a regular meal or a take-home ration at school. The food will be distributed through the United Nations' World Food Program and private voluntary organizations, including Catholic Relief Services and CARE, and in all, the grants will support 49 projects in 38 countries. The GFEI received strong support from Ambassador George McGovern and former Senator Bob Dole, who will both join President Clinton for the announcement. The President will note that Senator Dole and Ambassador McGovern have been the two greatest proponents of an international school lunch program building on their experience as strong advocates of the U.S. school lunch program during their service in the U.S. Senate. The new program, which will encourage improved enrollment in schools in developing countries as well as better nutrition, is part of a continuing effort to achieve the Education for All goals of the Dakar World Education Forum held in April of 2000. Universal access to basic education, along with debt relief, AIDS funding, and other initiatives, has been an important part of the Administration's development agenda.

THE GLOBAL FOOD FOR EDUCATION INITIATIVE (GFEI) At the July 2000 G-8 Summit in Okinawa, the President announced that the United States would commit resources worth $300 million to establish school feeding programs in developing countries, particularly those countries that have made commitments to providing universal education for their children. Currently, an estimated 120 million children do not enroll in school in part because of hunger or malnourishment. The initiative announced today is a pilot program administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), with technical assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Under the program, USDA will provide surplus commodities and funds to cover transportation and distribution of the commodities to the World Food Program (WFP) and 14 private voluntary organizations for use in school feeding programs. USDA and USAID will also provide administrative and technical assistance as well as project monitoring and evaluation. The recipients of the school feeding grants were selected using a set of criteria that included need, contribution of resources by the host government, technical feasibility, and a commitment to the Dakar Forum's Education for All goals. Additionally, each program was examined to insure that the donations would have a benign effect on local markets and would not disrupt commercial sales opportunities.

SCOPE OF THE GFEI The Global Food for Education Initiative will deliver over 680,000 metric tons of food to support 49 separate programs in 38 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Approximately 9 million needy children will be reached by the program. Among the organizations that will be implementing the program are the World Food Program, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, Africare, and Save The Children. Examples of projects receiving grants are:

  • In Eritrea a joint program by Africare and Mercy Corps International will provide in-school feeding of high-protein biscuits and milk throughout the school year for approximately 65,000 students in 170 Eritrean schools.
  • In Bangladesh and Vietnam, Land O'Lakes, Inc. in partnership with Tetra Pak will provide milk packages and fortified biscuits to over 1,000,000 school children.
  • In Guatemala, Catholic Relief Services and World Share will use proceeds from the sale of U.S. commodities to purchase locally grown food and garden inputs for school feeding and take-home rations for more than 26,000 children.

EXPANDING ACCESS TO EDUCATION: A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT Today's announcement builds upon the Clinton Administration's record of accomplishment to broaden access to basic education in the poorest countries. President Clinton strongly endorsed the international Education for All goals adopted in Dakar, Senegal in April 2000 and has spearheaded an effort to accelerate their implementation. Key steps include:

  • A new $37 million Department of Labor School Works program to strengthen educational systems in developing countries, targeted to areas where abusive child labor is prevalent;
  • $155 million -- an increase of more than 50% over FY 2000 -- for international basic education programs, including $118 million for USAID; $45 million for the International Program to Eliminate Child Labor (IPEC) of the ILO -- a 50% increase over last year and more than 10-fold higher than the FY 98 level;
  • Successfully mobilizing the G-8 to endorse the Dakar Education for All goals at the Okinawa Summit;
  • Working together with the World Bank to increase Bank lending for basic education by 50% -- a $1 billion increase or doubling of the Bank's lending for this purpose.

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