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Save the Children to enhance literacy and nutrition among Lankan children

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Save the Children is pleased to officially launch the second phase of its flagship ‘Food for Education and Children Nutrition Programme’ (known as the PALAM/A project) supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since 2021, the child rights organisation has been working with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to support and complement the existing National School Meal Programme (NSMP), prioritizing holistic goals to enhance children’s nutrition and literacy across the island.

In December 2022, 50% of families had to reduce their children’s food intake, as a direct hit of the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka. Shantha* is a daily wage earner, his daughter, Kithma* is 10, she receives the morning meal as part of this programme in Monaragala. He says, “The school meal that my daughter receives is very crucial to us. In the past, I couldn’t send Kithma* to school because we didn’t have any food for her to take, and often, Kithma* used to feel weak at school without food. If I don’t have work, we tend to skip meals.”

Phase II of this programme was launched on February 13, with a collective commitment by Save the Children, Julie Chung, U.S Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha, and representations from five key line ministries under the GoSL, to further enhance the collaborative efforts needed to advance child nutrition and education in the country.

The launch event was marked by a ceremonial signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Save the Children and the five key line ministries under the GoSL, – The Education Ministry, Health Ministry, and Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and Women and Child Affairs and Social Empowerment Ministry.

The second phase of this initiative will reach over 200,000 school children in 917 primary schools and over 20,000 children in 500 preschools in 8 districts in Sri Lanka, with the aim of reducing short-term hunger among school-age children while simultaneously enhancing student attendance and attentiveness in classrooms.

“Today’s event builds on our incredible partnership with Save the Children and Sri Lankan counterparts over the past five years,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung. “In 2018, USDA committed $27.5 million to help feed children in over 800 rural primary schools in Sri Lanka. With this funding, we kept over 100,000 Sri Lankan children fed with salmon and yellow split peas we brought from America. Besides nutrition, the project also works on raising literacy and sanitation standards in these rural schools, including construction of new latrines for students. Now, with the latest U.S. commitment of $32.5 million from USDA, the project will work towards providing much-needed nutrition to nearly 200,000 students – close to 20 percent of students receiving the national school meal program.”

Dr. Susil Premajayantha, the Minister of Education of Sri Lanka, underscores the importance of investing in children, saying, “Education stands at the forefront of our nation’s growth and the collaborative efforts of the USDA and Save the Children only propels our mission further, in providing a brighter, more promising future for our children.”

The post Save the Children to enhance literacy and nutrition among Lankan children appeared first on DailyNews.

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