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WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2001–The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will donate about 17,430 metric tons of U.S. agricultural commodities to Mercy Corps International (MCI) for use in Eritrea under the Global Food for Education (GFE) program. MCI, a private voluntary organization, will use the proceeds to improve the educational environment in Eritrea.

The donation will include approximately 9,330 metric tons of wheat and 8,100 tons of vegetable oil.

During the 2001/2002 school year, MCI will distribute high-energy biscuits to approximately 35,000 primary school students in 150 schools. In addition, MCI will provide training and small grants to Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA’s) in targeted schools, as well as funds to the PTA’s to conduct information campaigns promoting education for girls.

The fiscal 2001 agreement with MCI was signed on Aug. 14, 2001. The donation will be made under USDA’s Section 416(b) program, administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service. This agreement is part of the $300-million pilot GFE initiative to expand access to basic education and improve childhood development in poor countries. Under this initiative, the United States is providing surplus agricultural commodities to improve student enrollment, attendance, and performance, with special emphasis on increasing female enrollment. The supply period for this donation is fiscal year 2001.

For further information, contact Michele Kouadio of FAS at (202) 690-0637, or send a message via the Internet to Information on the GFE initiative can be found on the Internet at

FAS news releases are available on the Internet at and by fax polling. Callers should set their fax machines for polling and dial (202) 720-1728. For additional information about web or fax access, contact FAS Public Affairs Division at (202) 720-7115.

#PR 0249-01


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