"It is widely agreed that basic education is the
best investment to improve the physical, social and economic conditions of
"Education is particularly critical for women and
girls. Research shows that girls who go to school marry later, practice
greater restraint in spacing births and have an average of 50 percent fewer
children. They are also more informed about health risks, like the AIDS
virus, and can better protect themselves and their children.
"The catalyst for educating poor children is food.
Research and decades of experience by aid agencies like the UN World Food
Program show that school feeding can alleviate hunger, dramatically increase
attendance and improve school performance. It also compensates poor parents
for the loss of their children's labor while they attend class.
"Using food to attract poor children to school and
to keep them there may seem like a surprisingly simple way to make an
impact. And it is. For an average of just 19 cents per day, or 34 dollars
annually, a child can be fed for 180 schooldays
Senator George McGovern, October 2001
Speaking in support of passage of the George
International Food for Education and Child
For more than a
decade, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child
has been nourishing the
bodies and minds of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children. Since
the program’s inception,
McGovern-Dole school feeding
and maternal and child nutrition projects have
provided meals and support to
more than 28 million children in over 40 countries around the globe.
Currently, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service funds 37 active agreements
with 16 cooperating sponsors in 26 countries, assisting more than five
Among the program’s recent successes …
- Thanks to a donation of 10,000 metric tons of U.S.
wheat, 350,000 schoolchildren in Bangladesh now have access
to daily snacks. The wheat is being used to produce
nutritious biscuits for children in about 2,000 schools in
the poorest areas of Bangladesh.
- A McGovern-Dole project operating in 533 rural
elementary schools in the poorest municipalities in
Guatemala has helped 70,000 children attend school and
helped feed the families of 22,500 fourth-through-sixth
- Over the past decade, McGovern-Dole programs in Congo
have helped feed nearly 150,000 children, boost school
enrollment by 24 percent and decrease drop-out rates by more
than 50 percent.