The world food crisis affects 153 million children under the age of 18, which represents almost half of the 345 million people facing acute hunger, which has “devastating consequences for their education,” warned the World Food Program on Friday. United Nations Food (WFP).

The WFP warned that the food crisis may aggravate the lack of learning suffered during the pandemic due to the closure of schools, so it is urgent to prioritize school health and nutrition programs, expand safety nets and achieve a robust response from the donors.

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“As all parents and teachers understand, hunger is one of the greatest barriers to effective learning, and the rise in hunger among school-age children now poses a real and present danger to the recovery of learning,” the envoy noted. UN Special Counsel for Global Education, Gordon Brown, in a statement.

In addition to boosting school meal programs, Brown also called the Transformative Education Summit, to be held in New York next Monday, “a critical opportunity to address the hunger crisis.”

That is why the WFP, together with the New Partnership for Africa’s Economic Development (NEPAD) and organizations working in education, including the Commission on Education chaired by Brown himself, calls for an action plan to restore feeding programs school interrupted by the pandemic.

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The entities demand to expand the scope of this action plan to 73 million more children, which would mean a cost of US$5.8 billion per year, almost €5.819 million.

The plan would complement broader measures to combat child hunger, such as expansion of child and maternal health programs, support for children who are out of school, and increased investment in safety nets.

“The link between hunger and lost learning opportunities needs to be higher on the international agenda, and school meal programs can help break that link,” said WFP School Programs Division Director, Carmen Burbano.

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A growing coalition of governments has come together to build the School Mealition Coalition, led by France and Finland, with 70 countries and the support of more than 70 organizations, to ensure that all children can receive a healthy and nutritious meal, complemented by other health interventions, by 2030.

“Putting school health first is a sound economic and social investment,” said Yacine Diop Djibo, founder and CEO of SpeakUpAfrica, an advocacy action group dedicated to catalyzing leadership in Africa and an active member of School Meals. Coalition.

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