In support of Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started providing financial assistance for more than 40,000 mothers registered under the Ministry's 'Takaful and Karama' programme and their children under 2 years to prevent malnutrition and help families fulfil the nutritional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project is under the auspices of MOSS and is part of its social protection programme the 'First 1,000 Days' that is implemented in partnership with WFP.
Thanks to a contribution of EGP3.5 million (US$220,000) from the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) towards this programme, WFP will be providing food assistance through cash transfer for more than 4,000 of these women and their children. This support is a first of its kind between SFSD and WFP towards food security for such vulnerable communities.
"The '1000 Days of Life' Programme is a key programme to the Ministry of Social Solidarity as it provides support to vulnerable pregnant and nursing mothers and their children under two guaranteeing healthy nutrition during a critical stage in the child's development timeline. The negative effect of inadequate nutrition during this time is irreversible making this programme a pivotal one," said Minister of Social Solidarity Nivine El Kabbag. "The effects of inadequate nutrition place a great burden on the heath and education services of the country as it limits the level of productivity of its citizens. It is therefore important to invest in the health and nutrition of the child from the beginning of the pregnancy and throughout the first 2 years of their life as this is considered an investment in the future of the country," added Minister Nivine El Kabbag.
This assistance is part of the cooperation between the ministry and WFP working together to provide social protection to the most vulnerable communities and those most prone to the negative impacts of malnutrition; placing a huge economic burden on the country as a result of its impact on the health sector and the cognitive capabilities of the children and hence the productivity of the citizens.
"During these difficult times, it is critical to bring all efforts together to work towards supporting the most vulnerable who have been worst affected by the negative impact of this pandemic and WFP is supporting the government's efforts to assist them," said WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt Menghestab Haile. "We are especially keen on supporting mothers and children so they can get through this difficult time and help secure a healthy and safe future for these families and future generations."
More families are struggling to make ends meet with limited or affected income as a result of the pandemic. "Improving the wellbeing of Egyptians is one of Sawiris Foundation's primary priorities. We strive to ensure that Egypt's most disadvantaged citizens can secure their most basic needs, particularly at a time of emergency such as the COVID-19 crisis," said Executive Director of SFSD Noura Selim. "Our collaboration with WFP and MOSS, reinforces our commitment to sustainable development and to helping the Egyptian people overcome this pandemic safely."
WFP is the sole UN agency in Egypt providing food security to the most vulnerable populations and continues to count on the contributions of donors to sustain and upscale assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Egypt throughout its COVID-19 response and recovery phases.