PESHAWAR: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Department (E&SED) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are working together to provide cash assistance to families of adolescent girls hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 16,000 adolescent girl students between grade 6 to 10 in 232 government girls’ middle and high schools in all seven newly merged tribal districts and six sub-divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will receive benefit, says a press release.
“Educating every child especially girl is a key priority of the provincial government. We are pleased to implement this pilot project with the support of the World Food Programme. Together, we hope this large-scale cash stipend programme can reach every enrolled adolescent girl to help them and their families meet their food and nutrition needs during this challenging time of COVID-19,” said the Secretary Education, Government of KP.
Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children. Socio-cultural and economic factors, along with challenges such as limited availability of schools hamper the access and retention of adolescent girls in schools. This situation has been exacerbated by additional economic hardship brought on by the pandemic.
“Secondary-level education rates of girl students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are among the lowest in the country. WFP introduced the cash-based assistance as a safety net to not only help the families cope with the economic downturns of the pandemic, but also encourage parents to send their girls to school and make sure they stay in school. By doing so, we contribute to the health and development of adolescent girls today, and a build brighter future for them and their country tomorrow,” said Chris Kaye, WFP Pakistan Country Director.
In addition to the cash assistance, WFP has donated Information Technology (IT) equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand washing stations with soap, as well as nutrition and education booklets and leaflets, and awareness banners to the Elementary and Secondary Education Department to help its staff, teachers and students stay safe from COVID-19.
The WFP work on saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.