Mauritania

UAE donation feeds thousands of school children in Mauritania

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ROME - The United Nations World Food Programme has thanked UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for a US$1 million donation for its school feeding programme in Mauritania.

"This gift will bring life and learning to tens of thousands of school children in Mauritania," said Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme. "We are so grateful to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for reaching out to the children of Mauritania, and for making a true difference to their young lives."

In Mauritania and elsewhere in the world, WFP school meals play a vital role in children's lives. One meal during the school day not only staves off hunger, but improves children's ability to learn. Especially in remote parts of Mauritania, where life is harsh and poverty widespread, school meals are a major incentive for families to send their children - especially girls - to school. As a result, school enrollment and attendance rates are much higher.

"This contribution is very well timed as we have been greatly concerned about a lack of funds for our Mauritania school feeding programme. Now, when the school year starts in October, thousands of children and their families can count on the gift of a nutritious meal," said Sheeran.

WFP school feeding programmes in Mauritania assist 161,000 children, almost half of the country's children aged 6 to 11 who are enrolled in school. The US$ 1 million UAE donation is equivalent to giving a daily school meal to 35,500 children in Mauritania for an entire school year. WFP needs US$3.5 million more to ensure that all 161,000 children in its project will be provided with a full lunch ration for the school year starting in October.

The UAE donation was first announced last month during the annual dinner hosted by the Mosaic Foundation which honoured WFP and its school feeding programmes. HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein represented the World Food Programme as a keynote speaker at the event, which was held in Washington early last month.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: on average, each year, we give food to 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP - We Feed People.

WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/english/?n=999.

WFP now has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Brenda Barton, Deputy Director Communications, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132602, Cell. +39-3472582217 (ISDN line available)

Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.. +44-20-72409001, Cell. +44-7968-008474

Christiane Berthiaume, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Cell. +41-792857304

Cécile Sportis, WFP/Paris, Tel. +33-1-70385330, Cell. +33-6161-68266

Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1-202-4223383

Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-212-9635196, Cell. +1-646-8241112, luescher@un.org