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New program to target food insecurity & illiteracy in Cameroon, Counterpart announces

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ARLINGTON, Virginia, Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 74,000 children in the African country of Cameroon will have improved food security and education through a new school-based program, Counterpart International announced. (www.Counterpart.org)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110818/DC54764LOGO)

"The Cameroon program builds on a decade of working with communities in West Africa to overcome high rates of both malnutrition and school dropout, both of which can be addressed through school feeding programs," says Joan C. Parker, President and CEO of Counterpart International.

The three-year program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service, will provide primary school students with daily meals, food storage and sanitation facilities, and community gardens.

Cameroon is a low-income, food deficient country. A third of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition, and annual food shortages are becoming more severe.

Children at the 150 participating schools will receive breakfast and lunch as a way to increase school enrollment, ensure a healthy diet and enhance academic performance. Girls – who face higher dropout rates in this region – will also receive take-home rations.

Parent-teacher associations will create and manage school gardens whose produce will supplement, and eventually supplant, the commodities provided by the USDA.

"Involving parent-teacher associations, the government and local authorities will ensure that this program is both successful and sustainable," says Counterpart's Parker.

Program benefits are expected to extend beyond schoolchildren to 500,000 community members.

Counterpart was a Food for Education pioneer in the Senegal's Matam region, where the dropout rate decreased substantially. Watch the video: http://www.counterpart.org/news/publications-websites/senegal-FFE-USDA

Counterpart's Food for Education program in Cameroon's North West Region benefited more than 20,500 students daily, and succeeded in increasing primary school enrollment by 40.5 percent for boys and 33.6 percent for girls in 2009 and 2010.

About Counterpart International

Counterpart International is a global development organization that works in partnership to empower people, communities and institutions to drive and sustain their own development. It is currently working in 23 countries.

For nearly 50 years, Counterpart has been working in partnership with communities in need to address complex problems related to economic development, nutrition and health, humanitarian assistance and strengthening civil society.

Learn more at www.Counterpart.org.

SOURCE Counterpart International



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