USDA and Save the Children Extend Lifeline to Sri Lankan Children with US$32.5 Million Initiative
Save the Children, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is set to embark on the second phase of the PALAM/A initiative, injecting a substantial US$32.5 million. This program aims to expand the integrated Food for Education Programme, focusing on enhancing literacy and nutrition for over 200,000 schoolchildren in 917 primary schools and 20,000 preschoolers across eight districts in Sri Lanka.
The project aligns with ongoing efforts to bolster the National School Nutrition Programme in partnership with the Sri Lankan government, emphasizing sustainable strategies for improved learning outcomes.
Beyond alleviating short-term hunger among school-age children, this initiative aims to heighten student attendance, elevate literacy instruction quality, enhance classroom attentiveness, and instill healthy dietary habits. This comprehensive approach seeks to address the educational and nutritional challenges accentuated by Sri Lanka’s economic crisis since 2022, promising a brighter future for the nation’s children.
Save the Children’s earlier PALAM/A Project successfully reached 95,000 children in 852 schools across seven districts, collaborating effectively with Sri Lanka’s key ministries, including Education, Health, and Finance Economic Stabilisation and National Policies. The project not only improved access to nutritious meals but also notably enriched the overall learning environment.
Julian Chellappah, Country Director of Save the Children’s Sri Lanka Country Office, reaffirmed their dedication to Sri Lankan children, emphasizing the commitment to nurturing young learners’ potential.
U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, praised the collaboration, highlighting the total USDA contribution to child nutrition in Sri Lanka reaching US$60 million. She underscored the program’s significance in equipping Sri Lankan children with essential tools for success, emphasizing the robust bond between the United States and Sri Lanka.
Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha emphasized the pivotal role of education in the nation’s progress, acknowledging the joint efforts of the USDA and Save the Children in shaping a promising future for Sri Lankan children.
Micah Olad, Chief of Party for Save the Children’s PALAM/A Project, expressed confidence in the initiative’s ability to drive positive change, building upon past achievements and envisioning a more substantial impact on children’s lives in Sri Lanka.
The ongoing commitment of Save the Children and USDA underscores their dedication to advancing the well-being of Sri Lankan children, with the PALAM/A Project standing as a beacon of hope for a brighter future.