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WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2001–The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will donate about 3,350 metric tons of U.S. agricultural commodities to Catholic Relief Services-United States Catholic Conference Incorporated (CRS) for use in Benin under the Global Food for Education (GFE) program. CRS, a private voluntary organization, will use the commodities for school feeding and education awareness programs in local communities, with a particular focus on the education of girls.

The donation will include approximately 2,760 metric tons of soybeans, 500 of rice, and 90 tons of soybean oil.

During the 2001/2002 school year, CRS will provide daily meals to 10,000 students in northern areas of Benin. In addition, CRS will work through Parent-Teacher Associations to provide take-home rations to approximately 3,500 girls to promote the importance of education in local communities.

The fiscal year 2001 agreement with CRS was signed on Aug. 23, 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 Kennedy-Kouadio at (202) 690-0637, or send an e-mail to Information on the GFE initiative can be found on the Internet at

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#PR 0317-01

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