New McGovern-Dole Projects to Benefit 2.7 Million Children Worldwide

New York, New York - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $183 million in U.S. agricultural commodities and support to benefit an estimated 2.7 million children in 10 developing countries as part of the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.

Vilsack made the announcement while speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

"The McGovern-Dole program doesn't just feed hungry children, it invests in their future potential," said Vilsack. "Supporting healthy families and improving access to education helps to combat the root causes of poverty and fosters sustainable economic growth in developing nations."

Through the McGovern-Dole Program, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) works with private voluntary organizations and foreign governments worldwide to reduce hunger, and improve literacy and primary education, especially for girls. By providing school meals, teacher training and related support, McGovern-Dole projects help boost school enrollment and academic performance. At the same time, the program focuses on improving children's health and learning capacity before they enter school by offering nutrition programs for pregnant and nursing women, infants and preschoolers.

The following chart summarizes this year's McGovern-Dole projects:

http://www.fas.usda.gov/mcgovern-dole-program-fiscal-year-2014-allocations

Approximately 28 million children in 37 countries have benefitted from the McGovern-Dole Program since it was established in 2002. For example:

  • An estimated 650,000 Kenyan children are currently benefitting from hunger programs at more than 2,000 schools, thanks to $77.8 million in support that USDA has provided to the World Food Program over the past decade.
  • In the Congo, USDA support to the International Partnership for Human Development has helped boost school enrollment by nearly 24 percent while reducing the school drop-out rate by more than 50 percent and cutting absenteeism – mainly caused by malaria – by 66 percent.
  • In Honduras, multi-year support from USDA has enabled Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to work with more than 2,000 teachers and administrators, focusing on early-grade reading and math assessment for more than 53,000 school aged children, providing educational materials and school supplies, and mobilizing more than 500 community organizations to recruit and train volunteer substitute teachers.

Visit www.fas.usda.gov to learn more about the McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program and other FAS programs.

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