The Irish government has released 900,000 Euros to feed school-going children in Karamoja and for South Sudan refugees in northern Uganda.

According to the Irish Embassy in Uganda, half of the money that is channeled through the United Nations World food Programme (WFP) will cater for 100,000 Karamojong children, while the other half will help about 150,000 South Sudan refugees living in transit centres and settlements.

Currently, Uganda hosts its biggest ever number of refugees, estimated at about 500.000, seventy per cent of who are supported by the WFP.

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WFP will use the committed funds to buy food for use in its shool meals and refugee assistance programmes, including beans and maize grains grown locally in Uganda from small-scale farmer groups. These initiatives are expected to increase school enrolment, retention and completion rates in Karamoja, and to improve nutrition for the refugees in West Nile.

“School feeding is one of the ways WFP is working with the Government to fill food gaps among the most vulnerable households,” said WFP’s Michael Dunford said, adding: “The Programme also encourages children to enroll and stay in school, and therefore invest in their futures.”

The Irish Ambassador to Uganda Donal Cronin noted that his country usually responds to the critical humanitarian needs of vulnerable people and societies.

“Ireland has a strong tradition of generously responding to people in need. Now that the food security situation in Karamoja is at a critical point at this time, and the number of refugees is high, Irish Aid and the Irish Embassy are pleased to be able to respond to this urgent need in partnership with WFP and the Government of Uganda,” Amb Cronin said.

He added: “In our valued partnership with the Government of Uganda this support is a strong to our other areas of development assistance in Uganda in social protection, HIV and AIDS, education and good governance sectors.”