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Australia extends support for school meals programme

The Australian government has announced renewed support of AU$1 million in funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) to support vulnerable communities in Laos in managing their own school feeding programmes and strengthening their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The renewed Australian government support is instrumental in supporting the continued strengthening of communities and inclusion of cash transfers. 
The announcement was confirmed recently by the Australian Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission Mr Andreas Zurbrugg when he visited Baeng district in Oudomxay province.
The generous support from Australia will be used to assist vulnerable communities in shock-prone areas in adapting to climate change and building long-term resilience against climate risks, according to a statement from the embassy.
“Australia is pleased to partner with the WFP to support the Lao government’s priority of helping to build community resilience and improve food security,” Mr Zurbrugg said.
“Investing in the most disadvantaged communities, particularly children, will help enable Laos to achieve its economic development goals,” he added.
With 70 percent of the population relying on subsistence agriculture, changes in climate affect the vast majority of the rural population.
Smallholder farmers will be at the centre of the support, receiving access to new agricultural techniques and tools to adapt production to climate change and support community grown school feeding. School feeding programmes not only help to reinforce increases in school enrolment and attendance in Laos, but also give motivation for children, especially disadvantaged boys and girls, to attend school.
With the goal of handing over the community grown school meals programme, WFP continues to roll out the government cash-based transfer model of 800 kip/AU$0.13 per child per day for local purchases of fresh food. 
“The continued and generous support from the Australian government reflects its commitment to invest in the children and the country’s future,” WFP Country Director Sarah Gordon-Gibson said.
“The positive progress we have achieved thus far is also a result of a very close and strong partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sports; we are delivering better together for a greater beneficial impact on the children, and to ensure ownership and sustainability.”

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
May 03,

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