June 25, 2021: On June 21, a first group of approximately 110,000 students from 887 primary schools received a delivery of vital food aid funded by the American people. Students in Badulla, Kilinochchi, Monaragala, Mullaitivu, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura, and Trincomalee and their families will each receive five kilograms of yellow split peas and five tins of pink salmon between June and September 2021. These emergency take-home rations are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $26 million McGovern-Dole project in Sri Lanka that assists food-insecure, school-aged children and their families through the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities and technical assistance.
“These protein-rich foods will provide important nutrition to children while they’re out of school and unable to receive meals through the Government of Sri Lanka’s school meal program,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz. “The American people are committed to the health and well-being of Sri Lankan children and I’m proud we can help Sri Lankan families overcome food insecurity issues.”
Implemented in Sri Lanka in collaboration with Save the Children and the Government of Sri Lanka, the Promoting Autonomy for Literacy and Attentiveness through Market Alliances (PALAM/A) Project helps boost school enrollment, increase attendance, and improve reading outcomes and literacy results by providing nutritious school meals and take-home rations, teacher training, and related education, nutrition, and health support. In 2020, the Government of Sri Lanka and USDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding that committed the full support of the Sri Lankan government for the implementation of this project. The Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Save the Children designed the project together to support Government of Sri Lanka efforts to promote children’s learning, nutrition, and good health. Three national ministries, provincial governments, and district authorities provided their fullest support to facilitate the distribution of take-home rations.