WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2015 - The McGovern-Dole school feeding programs is expanding to two additional countries and adding new projects in four others.Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden announced the latest projects during a visit to Rwanda, which hasn’t had a McGovern-Dole project since 2010. After meeting agriculture and education officials in Rwanda, Harden said there was a “growing awareness and commitment for the government here to make sure that kids do have food in school.”
The officials “recognize that this is a very important part of education,” she said in a conference call with reporters.
Children in the Rwandan project, which will be run by the United Nations World Food Program, will be provided with a corn-soy blend.
The seven new projects, which also will be located in the existing McGovern-Dole countries of Honduras, Mali, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, will cost $202 million and serve an estimated 2.5 million children, including 750,000 in Cote d'Ivoire and 415,000 in Rwanda.
While countries don’t necessarily commit to continuing the feeding programs when the five-year projects end, the assistance is targeted to areas where there is strong support from the host governments and non-governmental organizations, Harden said.
USDA provides both cash and commodities through the McGovern-Dole projects. This year, USDA is donating the corn-soy blend as well as U.S.-produced lentils, green and yellow split peas, fortified rice, vegetable oil and pinto beans. USDA funding can’t be used to purchase locally grown foods.
Since the program was established in 2002, it has benefited more than 30 million children in 38 countries.
Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and Guinea-Bissau are dropping out of the program because they are no longer considered priority countries.