Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Bhutan : WFP – In philatelic appreciation

1 July, 2009 - The world food program (WFP), in collaboration with Bhutan post, launched yesterday a series of postal stamps, which reflect their support to various sectors in Bhutan.

The stamps were launched in Thimphu as WFP celebrated its 35th anniversary.

The stamps depict portraits of children in remote schools holding red cups – symbolising challenges faced by WFP and their activities such as school feeding, logistics and support to the school agriculture programme, road workers and power tiller tracks.

The chief executive officer of Bhutan Post, Tseten Geltsen, said that the set of stamps reflects the successful implementation of WFP in providing assistance in the form of food, supply of fuel efficient stoves and infrastructure, such as stores and hostels to school children in various parts of the country, making a huge difference to the lives of Bhutanese people.

“It not only gives a tinge of excitement to stamp collectors but also educates the mass and draws attention of partners of their support, generosity, cooperation and education,” said the CEO.

School feeding has been a major activity since the start of WFP assistance in 1974, with increased enrollment and attendance as their main goals.

In 2008, WFP utilised around USD 4m – donations received – in purchasing food commodities and for other assistance, such as construction of hostel and purchasing fuel-efficient stoves for schools.

An additional USD 0.44m and 2 MT of vegetable oil was received in January this year, which not only secures food commodities to last till 2009 end, but supports 38,000 children from rural and remote schools to attend classes. WFP also plans to deliver at least around USD 0.2m worth of non-food assistance this year, mainly to encourage girls to attend school and complete basic education.

“The net primary enrollment rate over the last ten years has increased from an estimated 53 percent in 1998 to 88 percent in 2008,” according to WFP officials.

The WFP representative, Leo Van Der Velden said that WFP would phase out the school feeding programme at high school level by 2012 and focus on the primary level to develop the capacities within the government to take over the school feeding program.

By Passang Norbu

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