Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  

$14m Australian food aid for ultra poor
Australia signed a $A14 million food aid agreement with Bangladesh in the city on 15 April to support the efforts of ultra poor people to improve their lives, says a press release.

Australian High Commissioner Douglas Foskett and ERD Secretary Md Aminul Islam Bhuiyan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.

After signing the agreement Douglas Foskett said, "Australia is committed, in partnership with Bangladesh and the World Food Programme, to supporting the efforts of ultra poor people to improve their lives. Our food aid programmes help these people bring about long-lasting change in their circumstances, through improved food insecurity and nutrition, and the development of sustainable income-generating activities."

The Australian High Commissioner also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Food Programme (WFP), who will provide management and supervision support to the government for the food aid programmes.

WFP Representative Douglas Broderick signed the MoU for WFP.

The Australian grant will be used to purchase wheat to support the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) and School Feeding programmes of the government. The VGD programme will improve the lives of over 500,000 extreme poor people of the impoverished northwest region of the country. It includes provision of a monthly 25kg ration of fortified atta to over 100,000 extreme poor families for better nutrition, and capacity building in income generation skills. The VGD programme participants are also assisted to establish linkages with NGO micro-credit programmes.

Under the School Feeding Programme children of the selected areas will receive a packet of micro-nutrient fortified biscuits on each school day. This will contribute to increasing their learning capacity, attendance and enrolment rates, as well as improving their health and nutrition. The Australian contribution will reach over 93,000 school children of the northwest region and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).