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Children Of Senegal Directly Benefit From USDA’s McGovern-Dole International Food For Education Program

In keeping with USDA’s commitment to addressing global food insecurity through school feeding programs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will donate more than 100,000 tons of U.S. agricultural commodities valued at nearly $170 million in fiscal year 2010 under the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition (McGovern-Dole) Program.

The McGovern-Dole Program helps support education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. The program has helped feed millions of children over the years and one example of the success of this program can be found in Senegal.

Children in 112 primary schools and 21 pre-schools and mothers and infants in 58 maternal and child health nutrition (MCHN) centers in the Matam region of Senegal are eating a daily meal and much more due to a Counterpart International (CPI) project funded by USDA’s McGovern-Dole Program.

Most people in the Matam region are extremely poor and face high rates of malnutrition. In addition, the area receives little rainfall and food prices are inflated, making food unaffordable for vulnerable households. As a result, roughly 30 percent of children under the age of five are stunted in height and 58 percent of women of child-bearing age suffer from anemia.

To improve this situation, USDA donated more than 9,500 tons of crude degummed soybean oil, vegetable oil, textured soy protein and used the proceeds to provide a daily lunch to 17,774 primary school children and 1,800 pre-school children.

After nearly three years of operation, this school feeding program has achieved a large measure of sustainability. Successes achieved by CPI include:

- National and local governments created school feeding divisions, allocating more than $2 million to school feeding activities and setting aside additional funds to purchase supplementary food ingredients.

- Nearly 450 teachers and Parent-Teacher Association members were trained in managing school feeding activities and providing proper nutrition.

- More than 22 villages are implementing school garden activities by growing cabbage, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, eggplant and carrots.

- Nearly 250 head nurses, community health workers, pre-school teachers and pre-school management committee members at MCHN centers were trained in weighing techniques, infant nutrition, breastfeeding, hygiene and illness prevention.

- In addition, a joint project with the U.S. Peace Corps is reducing dependence on fuel wood for cooking by providing mud stoves to select recipients to prepare school meals and training people in 30 villages on mud stove construction techniques.

These accomplishments resulted in USDA renewing its McGovern-Dole agreement this year with CPI for another three years to achieve an even greater degree of sustainability.

The McGovern-Dole Program is administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.  More information about the program is available online at:  http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/FoodAid/FFE/FFE.asp


For more information about CPI’s development work, visit http://www.counterpart.org.

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