The United States government is donating an additional forty-million dollars in food aid to Bangladesh. Thirty-million dollars of this aid is to be distributed over a three-year period throughout Bangladesh via a school feeding program. Another ten-million dollars is for emergency food aid.
U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh James Moriarty said the thirty million dollar donation is part of the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh’s policy of universal primary education. The program will benefit some three-hundred-fifty-thousand Bangladeshi school children by providing a seventy-five gram packet of fortified biscuits each day to primary age school children. The goal of the program is to increase primary school enrollment, attendance and reduce dropout rates. The program also aims to improve the attention span and learning capacity of students by alleviating short-term hunger. "We are providing a means and an incentive for children to stay in school so Bangladesh can prepare the next generation of leaders," said Ambassador Moriarty.
The primary beneficiaries of the new ten million dollar emergency food aid will be those still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Sidr. This ten-million dollar donation will be used for direct food distribution, recovery activities through food-for-work and cash-for-work programs, emergency school feeding, and feeding pregnant and lactating mothers and children.
The United States government has provided more than five-billion dollars in development assistance to Bangladesh since its independence in 1971. Over two-and-a-half billion dollars of that was in food aid. Since October 2007, the U.S. government has pledged over seventy-million dollars for food aid to Bangladesh, in addition to the new pledge of forty million dollars.
Immediately after Cyclone Sidr, the U.S. provided twenty-million dollars to alleviate human suffering. It also funds an ongoing food aid program of forty-eight million dollars that focuses on sustainable development. This program is implemented in three-thousand-five-hundred poor and vulnerable villages in the char, haor, and coastal regions. Recently, the U.S. provided one-hundred-thousand dollars as an emergency response to help the people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
"Bangladesh is a country with a great future," said Ambassador Moriarty. "These latest donations reflect our commitment to helping build a brighter future tomorrow, even for Bangladesh’s most vulnerable citizens."