For hundreds of thousands of children in Egypt, attending school isn’t viewed as essential as helping out the family by working. Child labor is a critical issue in Egypt, where lack of access to primary education and undernutrition are also considered widespread concerns. A new collaboration between the European Union and the World Food Programme aims to respond to these issues by providing an incentive for 100,000 children previously working or about to enter the labor market: a daily nutritious snack during school hours as well as take-home food for their families. The daily snack, a date bar enriched with vitamins and minerals, provides 25% of children’s daily nutritional needs, and the food rations will include rice and oil (and approximates the value of the child’s lost wages). The children must maintain an 80% attendance rate, which means that the support of their families is essential. The four-year project will include 651 schools and also aims to provide 50,000 mothers with training for income-generation activities of their own, in lieu of enlisting their children to support the family.

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