Cambodia Food for Education
IRD is promoting primary education and reducing the incidence of hunger in 125 schools in Cambodia’s Kampong Chhnang province. The Food for Education program provides healthy on-site meals and take-home rations. The meals consist of corn-soy blend and vitamin A-fortified soybean oil, as well as salt, spices or palm sugar, and raisins or other fruit. The dish is similar to the rice-based ba bor, a traditional Cambodian breakfast food. The McGovern-Dole Food for Education (FFE) donates the corn-soy blend and oil and the take-home rations of beans and canned salmon, while the remaining items are obtained locally as in-kind donations.
IRD also works with community volunteers to provide safe transportation to school for girls from remote and flood-prone villages. Since the project’s inception in 2008, IRD has generated strong community participation and developed the capacity of teachers, school administrators, provincial, and national Ministry of Education officials to encourage parents to enroll their children in school, then keep them there until completion.
To improve the quality of primary education and student enrollment, IRD has provided more than 30,000 students and teachers in grades 1–9 with the take-home rations as incentive awards. Teachers with the highest attendance rates and percentage of students passing the national exam, as well as families of children with at least an 85 percent attendance rate receive the take-home rations. By targeting schools with gender imbalances and providing transport for girls, IRD is also helping to increase female enrolment.
IRD is improving program effectiveness by conducting support activities that improve health and nutrition education and community awareness and mobilization. Using an interactive methodology – including quiz games and puppet shows – IRD conducts sessions on basic health, hygiene, and nutrition. In grades 7–9, health and nutrition messages add information on maternal and child health essentials, and children are sharing what they have learned with their peers and family members. The project is also distributing pamphlets and posters in local languages that contain basic health, hygiene, and nutrition information.
The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education (FFE) Program is funded by the USDA and implemented by IRD. The program is scheduled to run from September 2008–August 2012.