WFP, Papua and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Provinces, independent research specialists and community representatives share their experiences and participate in a lessons-learned forum on the Local School Meals programme.
KUPANG – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) are this week hosting an exchange bringing together key stakeholders to share best practices and lessons learned from the Local School Meals programme.
Members of the Jayapura City municipal government in Papua province are visiting NTT where their two-day programme includes visits to schools where local food-based school meals have been successfully provided for over two years, and a seminar on Thursday.
“This is an exciting opportunity to fine tune this important project and look at ways that it might be scaled up and replicated in other vulnerable areas of Indonesia,” said Peter Guest, WFP Indonesia Deputy Country Director, in his opening remarks to the seminar.
NTT has been running a Local School Meals programme for more than two years. Research by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) shows it has been an effective and cost-efficient model to tackle short term hunger, increase school attendance and improve the concentration level of students in targeted schools. It also serves to improve the knowledge and practice of good health and hygiene among children and their communities.
“The impact of this programme are already clear to see,” said Ayub Titu Eki, the District Head of Kupang district in NTT. “It provides nutritious meals for children and has stimulated an increase in attendance levels in schools. What we have also seen is that student are more aware of the variety of nutritious foods which are beneficial for their health and well-being. We are grateful to WFP for their support.”
WFP school meal programmes in NTT and Papua are implemented in collaboration with the local government and communities, providing more than 9,200 elementary students in over 50 schools with a nutritious hot snack, made from local foods such as maize, mung beans, cassava, sweet potato and pumpkin.
The LIPI study was conducted in 2012. The data was collected via surveys, interviews and focus group discussions in 12 schools participating in the school meal programme in Kupang and Timur Tengah Selatan (TTS) districts.
WFP Local School Meals Programme in NTT and Papua Provinces
WFP launched the Local School Meal pilot in NTT in 2010 in collaboration with the local government, based on national initiatives and provincial recommendations to promote local foods. As well as helping children to concentrate better in class, the approach promotes dietary diversity and food safety, and educates children about the importance of hand washing.
Savoury and sweet recipes are cooked three times each week in selected schools by trained cooking groups. The ingredients come from various sources – WFP provides the staple grain and pulses, the government contributes sugar, and the local community also adds what it can. WFP sources additional ingredients from local farmer groups. Since last year micronutrient powders have also been added to meals to give them an additional nutritious ‘punch’.
The first phase of the pilot school meals programme in TTS district received positive feedback from various stakeholders including government, communities, parents and teachers in a joint government/WFP evaluation. As a result, WFP agreed to support the local government’s efforts to expand coverage in NTT through a cost-sharing mechanism. Following the success of the school meal programme in NTT, another prototype has been established in Papua, using a similar model.
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