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WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2002 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will donate 17,300 metric tons of soft white wheat to Mercy Corps for use in Eritrea under the Global Food for Education (GFE) program.  Mercy Corps, a private voluntary organization, will use the commodities for school feeding and school support programs. 

           Mercy Corps will sell the white wheat and use the proceeds to buy and distribute high-energy biscuits to about 35,000 primary school students in up to 150 schools.  Mercy Corps will also provide small grants to parent-teacher associations (PTAs) to fund practical activities, such as providing school uniforms and offering rewards for girls’ attendance and good performance.  In addition, funds will be used to help PTA members organize campaigns to promote education for girls, and to help teachers to improve classroom gender equality and teaching methods.                 

         The fiscal 2002 agreement with Mercy Corps was signed on Sept. 9, 2002.  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.  The supply period for this donation is fiscal year 2002. 

            For further information, contact Tawhid Al-Saffy of FAS at (202) 720-5263, or send an e-mail 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 0319-02


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