wfp lauds german move to boost aid for afghanistan where more
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed yesterday the German government’s decision to increase aid for Afghanistan, citing the thousands of war-weary Afghans who remain in dire need of international help, food aid in particular.
Germany’s State Secretary of Development Policy, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, announced that the country’s federal government was raising post-conflict and rehabilitation funding for Afghanistan to Euro 100 million, an increase of Euro 20 million. The fresh allotment of money is aimed at supporting programmes linked to education and gender issues.
“WFP is very active on these issues in Afghanistan, and thus we are acutely aware of the urgent need for more funds,” said Monika Midel, Director of WFP’s German office.
The UN food agency aims to provide assistance to 6.6 million people in Afghanistan, among them 2.3 million school children participating through Food for Education programmes.
WFP focuses particular attention on Afghan women and girls by operating food programmes tied to girls’ school attendance and by literacy and teachers’ education schemes targeting female participants. Some 400,000 female students receive monthly rations of vegetable oil during the lean season to help keep the girls in school. Another 450,000 pupils, both girls and boys, living in remote areas receive wheat rations for the same purpose.
The programmes have helped overall school attendance figures nearly double since 2002.
The number of girls in school has jumped from 800,000 to 1.5 million in the same period.
But much more needs to be done. “Close to seven million Afghans need our help,” said Midel. “Funding to assist even the most vulnerable populations is insufficient -- we’re currently lacking around Euro 150 million through 2008.”
In his announcement, State Secretary Wieczorek-Zeul indicated that fresh funds should go as well to the relatively unstable southern regions of Afghanistan, where food insecurity is a major problem. WFP, which is active in the area, estimates that up to 60 per cent of the population in the southern provinces of Nimroz and Helmand are undernourished.
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