UN data reveals that more than 393 million children have failed to gain the basic literacy skills at age 10; and in the case of Ivory Coast, the reading rates have always been low, with the reality that one third of children who start in 1st grade will drop out before finishing primary school. In response, AVSI has been working to improve literacy rates in 613 schools of Ivory Coast through the USDA/McGovern-Dole Program. Led by the World Food Program from 2016 to 2021, 150,000 students were able to receive quality school meals. Amid the crisis, AVSI has stepped up its work with refugees and migrants in the region, leveraging the little money available to create pathways for long-term integration and development for Venezuelans in host countries. Through the project Integrados, funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, AVSI provides legal protection, housing, and livelihoods assistance for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in three regions of Ecuador: Pichincha, Manabi, and El Oro.
On Thursday, April 29, during the CIES21 conference (April 25-May 2), AVSI participated in a panel session to present the findings and lessons learned from evaluations of the school feeding programs on reading and nutritional outcomes of primary school children in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. The two programs are funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition program that supports education, child development, and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries.