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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