The US Department of Agriculture selected Mercy Corps and 13 other private voluntary organizations to participate in a $300 million program promoting better nutrition and school participation for needy children in developing countries. The “Global Food for Education Initiative” allows 9 million children in 38 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to receive a regular meal or a take-home ration at school.
Mercy Corps leads the Initiative in Eritrea with Africare, a partner organization, to provide:'
Food to primary school students throughout Debub, Gash Barka, Anseba, Northern Red Sea and Southern Red Sea Zones. Many of these children have low school attendance levels, high dropout rates and low nutritional levels.
Training in basic nutrition/hygiene and capacity building to local parent school committees.
Small grants to parent school committees to address the school’s most urgent needs.
In the mid-1980s, Mercy Corps operated a large-scale, cross-border food operation from northern Sudan into what is now Eritrea. From 1995-97, Mercy Corps and its Eritrean partner organization built water and soil conservation structures in the highlands around Asmara, Eritrea’s capitol city, improving environmental conditions and providing temporary labor for 7,000 individuals and their dependents. During the fighting in May-June 2000, Mercy Corps supplied medicine, kerosene stoves, fuel cans and fuel to 1,500 internally displaced families. Partnering with UNHCR, Mercy Corps provided shelter to another 1,000 internally displaced families. In September 2000, a supplemental feeding and health education program was initiated by Mercy Corps and the US Agency for International Development’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance benefiting 8,000 war-affected individuals per month.
Mercy Corps will implement the Initiative in targeted schools throughout Kyrgyzstan to provide:
Food to kindergarten and boarding school students throughout the Republic.
Grants to strengthen local school feeding programs promoting self-sufficiency.
Resources to prevent schools from closing by repairing physical infrastructure.
Since 1994, Mercy Corps has been engaged in a diverse array of activities in Kyrgyzstan such as economic development, agriculture development, infrastructure repair and rehabilitation, large-scale engineering works, food distribution and food-for-work activities. Mercy Corps has disbursed agricultural grants to more than 15 organizations aimed at assisting them to become self-sufficient in food production, including livestock, grain crops, and fruit and vegetable production. Mercy Corps currently serves more than 150,000 participants in Kyrgyzstan.