Aga Khan Foundation’s School Feeding Program in Central Asia

Practical Snapshots: How Food Aid Helps Developing Communities and Countries

October 2006

Through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition (FFE) Program, the Food for Progress (FFP) program, and the Section 416(b) program, FAS works closely with private voluntary organizations, the World Food Program, and foreign governments to foster food security and development in countries around the world.

FFE activities help to support education, child development, and food security for some of the world’s poorest children. In the last five years, FFE efforts have helped feed more than 10 million children in more than 40 countries, increase school attendance, and improve teachers’ capabilities.

Private voluntary organizations use the resources of USDA food aid programs to promote health, nutrition, and advancement for people in developing countries.

The FFP program provides developmental assistance through projects such as credit funds, infrastructure development, and technical assistance. The program provides food to vulnerable populations and assists farmers and agribusinesses in improving their operations. Through the FFP program, FAS provides $150-250 million worth of food assistance each year.

Section 416(b) provides for overseas donation of surplus agricultural commodities that may be sold in the recipient country and the proceeds used to support agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development programs.

Monetization: selling commodities from U.S. food aid programs and using the proceeds for approved development purposes

Aga Khan Foundation’s School Feeding Program in Central Asia
Since the mid-1990s, the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A., a private, nonprofit international development organization, has worked with FAS to alleviate hunger and illiteracy and promote development in isolated mountain communities in Central Asia. The Aga Khan Foundation, which is part of a network of social development agencies and service providers known as the Aga Khan Development Network, has used USDA-donated commodities to develop a university in Central Asia, improve dairy practices and feed vulnerable populations in the region.

In 2002, Aga Khan Foundation began implementing the Education Dairy and Nutrition Program, mainly in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, through a Section 416(b) food aid grant. A portion of the donated commodities are monetized, i.e., sold to raise funds for agreed-upon development activities that demonstrate potential for high impact at the community level. Also through the program, donated nonfat dry milk is bartered and used to produce individual servings of UHT milk for school children. The program provides a daily ration of 200 milliliters of milk (about half of a pint) to 79,000 school children.

In Tajikistan, Aga Khan Foundation has distributed milk rations to 321 schools and 21 kindergartens. In 2004-2005, the grant supported 49 small-scale community infrastructure projects such as school rehabilitation and irrigation canals benefiting approximately 42,728 people. It provided livestock and veterinary training for 882 poor households, and a range of services, including vaccinations for over 1,000 animals. The grant also supported training for district health professionals and community based health workers and also essential preventative health care services for mothers and children under the age of 5; for instance, over 16,000 children received Vitamin D supplements.

In Afghanistan, FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), an affiliate of Aga Khan Development Network, has used the grant to deliver milk to 81 schools, overseeing the distribution of 1.38 million liters of milk every academic year. FOCUS grapples with many challenges in this extremely isolated and harsh mountain climate. There is often no electricity, roads, vehicles or even safe school buildings where classes can be held. In half of the areas, all of the milk distribution must be done on foot, and it can take several days to reach some of the most isolated schools. The milk is transported across the Pyanj River, and for every river crossing, FOCUS must coordinate with numerous regional officials, local communities and special volunteer teams from Afghanistan. Thus, FOCUS transports up to 20,000 liters of milk a day across this tumultuous river, 30-50 times a year. These efforts have paid off in better nutrition and increased school attendance for children in Northern Afghanistan, one of the poorest regions of the country where child malnutrition rates rank among the highest in the world.

In 2004-2005, the Section 416(b) grant was also used to rehabilitate 11 needy schools in Afghanistan. In addition, 24 field schools for farmers were held and nine livestock development centers established that provide artificial insemination services. In 2006, this grant has supported a range of income-generating activities for low-income farmers, provided livestock services to 10,000 rural households and also contributed to improved natural resource management.

A 13-minute video program highlighting the Education Dairy and Nutrition Program, entitled Milk & Hope, is available from Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A.

United States Department of Agriculture – Foreign Agriculture Service

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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