WFP to stay for three more years


World Food Program that began supporting the school feeding in Bhutan sometime in 1974 will ultimately phase out the entire program from the country in 2018. This came as an extension of the program for three more years, which initially planned to phase out completely by 2015.

school children queue for the food
school children queue for the food. Photo WFP/Bhutan

According to a kuensel report, WFP agreed to stay on until a hydropower is commissioned, the revenue of which will be dedicated to school feeding, as per the request of former DPT government.

The WFP project began in 1974 in nine schools with little over thousand students then. Since then, total of USD 67 million is spent until 2005.
According to Dungkar Drukpa, the officer-in-charge of WFP program in Bhutan, the phasing out of the feeding is based on the considerations of increased GNI($730 to $2,070 in 2011) and per capita income of average Bhutanese.

At present WFP is supporting the feeding of 30,345 students in 212 schools across the country, including the two meal support to some 27 schools.

Sitting on the floor for lunch
Sitting on the floor for lunch Photo WFP/Bhutan

WFP’s school feeding project has helped many parents of rural poor to share their burden of feeding children. It also helped in encouraging children who walked long distance to school to be regular in the school and subsequently increased the performance of children. Malnutrition is significantly reduced due to school feeding.

WFP activities in Bhutan mentions a statement: Improving Rural Children’s Access to Education with a focus on primary education (2008-2012) aims to assist the government in its school feeding activities by addressing short-term hunger faced by children living far away from schools and by reducing the financial burden on poor parents; it also assists in alleviating certain micronutrient deficiencies while contributing to overall improvement of school enrolment rates and attendance.