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Saudi dates to boost South Kordofan school meals

October 5 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Saudi dates (YouTube)
Saudi dates (YouTube)

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of dates from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that will become part of the daily school meals enjoyed by thousands of vulnerable children in South Kordofan.

He UN food agency provides daily school meals and take-home rations to more than 27,000 children in 47 schools throughout South Kordofan, WFP reported on Thursday.

At a ceremony in Khartoum on Thursday, Ali bin Hassan Jafar, the Saudi Ambassador to Sudan, and representatives from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) presented WFP with 39 metric tons of Saudi dates worth $94,000.

WFP’s school meals programme is a key part of its commitment to working with the Government of Sudan and partners with a view to reducing poverty and eliminating hunger in the country by 2030.

“WFP is grateful to KSRelief for this generous donation, particularly in supporting our cherished school meals programme,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Sudan Matthew Hollingworth. “WFP is looking forward to strengthening this partnership and believes that countries in the region have a significant role to play in Sudan’s development.

Social safety net

The rate of chronic malnutrition in Sudan is 38 percent, with 11 out of 18 states reporting a prevalence of stunting amongst children of more than 40 percent. School meals serve various purposes - they act as a social safety net for less well-off families, providing them with an incentive to send their children to school and to keep them there.

This is the second Saudi contribution over the past three years, bringing the total contribution from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre to 109 metric tons of dates with a total value of $275,000.

Dates –rich in fibre and other essential minerals including potassium and magnesium– add a tasty and nutritious element to children’s diets.

In 2018, WFP plans to provide cooked school meals to more than 900,000 children in food-insecure areas of Sudan.

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