August 25, 2011 – This project is one of a number of CIDA contributions to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) school feeding program. Over the past four decades, WFP has become the world’s foremost provider of school meals to poor children. In addition to providing free midday meals, WFP provides students with take-home rations for the family, which encourages parents to send their boys and girls to class. School feeding initiatives target the most food-insecure areas of countries with low school enrolment, irregular school attendance, and high primary school drop-out rates. CIDA’s support to WFP’s school feeding program is used to purchase, deliver and distribute nutritious food primarily to school children, particularly girls, as a means of increasing enrolment and attendance rates, decreasing drop-out rates, as well as improving children’s concentration, learning and academic performance. This project is from Canada’s June 2007 commitment to invest $125 million over 5 years to support WFP’s school feeding program in Africa. In addition, this project helps WFP to promote access to basic education in The Gambia, a key component of its Gambia Country Programme for the 2007-2011 year period. With Canada’s contribution, WFP will be providing 177,215 school children with meals in the coming school year.