Save the Children awarded $32.5 million by the USDA to enhance literacy and nutrition for primary grade children in Sri Lanka

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Save the Children is pleased to announce its continued partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under the McGovern Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, being awarded $32.5 million, for a 2nd phase of Save the Children’s flagship integrated Food for Education Programme, under the name PALAM/A.  This initiative is set to positively impact over 200,000 schoolchildren in 917 primary schools and over 20,000 children in 500 preschools across 8 districts in Sri Lanka, with a primary focus on improving literacy and nutrition. The project will leverage and build on the existing partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka, to build long-term sustainable approaches to the ongoing National School Nutrition Programme to ensure learning outcomes.

The overarching goal of Save the Children’s Food for Education Programme is to reduce short-term hunger among school-age children while simultaneously enhancing student attendance, improving quality of literacy instruction, increased attentiveness in classrooms, and the adoption of healthy dietary practices. This comprehensive approach aims to create a brighter future for the children of Sri Lanka by addressing key educational and nutritional challenges they face, which have been exacerbated following the economic crisis in the country since 2022.

To date, Save the Children’s PALAM/A Project has achieved a remarkable feat in reaching over 95,000 children in 852 schools across 7 districts in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s respective line ministries. This sustained effort, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Finance Economic Stabilisation and National Policies has not only improved access to nutritious meals but has also played a pivotal role in enhancing the overall learning environment for students.

Julian Chellappah, Country Director of Save the Children’s Country Office in Sri Lanka expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “Our commitment to Sri Lanka’s children remains unwavering. This renewed partnership with the USDA reaffirms our dedication to improving the lives of thousands of young learners and nurturing their potential.”

Julie Chung, the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka commended the collaboration, saying, “This award increases the total USDA contribution to child nutrition in Sri Lanka to $60 million and ensures Save the Children’s ongoing assistance to the government’s school meal program. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program exemplifies the strong bond between the United States and Sri Lanka, as we jointly invest in the future of Sri Lanka’s children, equipping them with the tools they need to succeed.”

Hon. Dr. Susil Premajayantha, the Minister of Education of Sri Lanka, underscores the importance of investing in children, saying, “Education stands at the forefront of our nation’s growth and the collaborative efforts of the USDA and Save the Children only propels our mission further, in providing a brighter, more promising future for our children.” 

Micah Olad, Chief of Party, PALAM/A Project, Save the Children, added, “The PALAM/A Project has already demonstrated its effectiveness in creating positive change. We look forward to building on these achievements and making an even greater impact for children in Sri Lanka in the years to come.”

Save the Children and USDA are committed to working together to advance the wellbeing of children in Sri Lanka, with the PALAM/A Project serving as a beacon of hope for a brighter future.

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