DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Global Food for Education

By Jill Moss

This is a VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

President Clinton has officially launched a new experimental project aimed at increasing the number of students attending school. The project will also help improve the health of children around the world.

The eighteen-month program is called Global Food for Education. Thirty-eight countries from Africa, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe will take part. Three-hundred-million dollars worth of surplus American farm products will be used to provide a daily meal at school for about nine million students.

To begin, more than five-hundred-thousand children in Vietnam will be given healthy food. Also, students in Kenya and Eritrea will receive a meal every day.

President Clinton said the program is an attempt to begin dealing with the hunger problem in the world. He said almost one-hundred-million people around the world have trouble every day getting enough to eat. He said this is partly because there is not enough food in many developing countries. As a result, half of the children in the world's poorest countries are not at school.

President Clinton said one effective way to get children in developing countries to attend school is by providing a healthy meal for them. A good example of this is an American supported food program in Cameroon in West Africa. Since it began, Mr. Clinton said, the number of children attending school in Cameroon has grown by fifty percent - to fifty-thousand students. Also, the number of female students in Cameroon who drop out of school has fallen to nearly zero.

In a ceremony last month in Washington, President Clinton announced support for aid groups who get the food to the children in the school meal program. The groups include the United Nations World Food Program, Africare and Catholic Relief Services.

Mr. Clinton said he hopes incoming president George W. Bush will continue and expand the school meal program. He says the goal is to offer at least one meal a day to every child around the world who needs it. Such an effort would cost the United States and other supporting countries up to seven-thousand-million dollars a year. This, President Clinton says, is a small amount compared to other budget costs.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Jill Moss.

Voice of America Special English