Press Release


The Humpty Dumpty Institute


USDA Approves New $4.1 Million Grant to the Humpty Dumpty Institute


March 4th, 2010

New York City - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a new Dole-McGovern Food for Education grant valued at $4.1 million to the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) in FY 2010 to continue its UXO clearance and direct feeding program in Laos for another 15 months. An agreement to be negotiated immediately will provide HDI with $3.2 million in cash resources. An additional $900,000 will cover the cost of transportation for 910 metric tons of beans, canned salmon, corn-soy blend, milled rice and vegetable oil to feed approximately 19,000 children daily in one of the most remote and food insecure provinces in Laos starting in September, 2010. The Humpty Dumpty Institute was among only seven NGOs that received new USDA approval this year. This is the third tranche of the Humpty Dumpty Institute’s 3-year UXO clearance and school feeding and rehabilitation program in Laos.

To date, in partnership with International Relief and Development (IRD), over 3.45 million nutritious daily snacks have been served to nearly 16,000 food insecure children in Laos and over 135,000 take-home rations have been provided to schoolchildren, particularly young girls, as incentives to stay in school and attend regularly. All 109 participating schools have reported that 98% of their students attended at least 80 percent of classes, increasing the number of Lao children in Khammouane Province who are regularly attending school by over 20 per cent.

Laos has the unfortunate distinction of being the most bombed country in the world. The removal of unexploded bombs coupled with our educational development activity has brought renewed hope to the people of Khammouane province. To date, in conjunction with the Mines Advisory Group, we have cleared over 2.2 million m² and destroyed nearly 4,000 items of unexploded ordnance. In addition, over 400 school and agricultural sites have been cleared of unexploded bombs. Due to the use of improved mine detection equipment allowing for faster clearance, we increased our clearance output by 225% over the past 15 months. In sum, the children we feed now have a better chance for educational advancement and the land we clear has made large areas available for cultivation, and provided new and safer access to schools.

The Humpty Dumpty Institute has also made great strides in the school improvement and garden component of this program, with 150 renovation projects completed by the end of 2009. With an eye toward sustainability, school gardens have been planted in over 100 villages, providing food for the students and, in some locations, contributing to supplement daily school feeding. Of the 109 schools targeted for this activity, over 100 have received seeds and tools, 50 new water wells are operating, and school facilities have been improved in over 90 villages. We have also supported and enabled health and hygiene training at all the schools.

In 2010-2011, the Humpty Dumpty Institute plans to expand its program to an additional 41 schools and will sharply focus on sustaining an immensely improved educational system in a much safer environment. We will build on our achievements by continuing to increase student enrollment and attendance rates and by providing a safe educational environment to more school children in Khammouane Province.

Bill Rouhana, Vice-Chair of the Humpty Dumpty Institute, said that “USDA’s approval to continue funding our program in Laos for a third year is a very serious commitment that reflects the vitality and sustainability of our program”. With this grant, the Humpty Dumpty Institute will have received nearly $17 million in funding from USDA for its humanitarian programs in Laos, Sri Lanka and Angola.