BISHKEK – The Government of the Russian Federation has announced a US$10 million grant to support the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in boosting the Kyrgyz national school feeding programme that covers over 400,000 children in primary school.
Over the next three years, WFP will assist the government in developing a national school meals policy and design sustainable models for the provision of school meals in the Kyrgyz Republic. It will start pilot programmes in more than 250 selected schools to introduce more nutritious meals. Those model school meals programmes could then be replicated throughout the country. The contribution from the Russian Federation will enable WFP to support the renovation of water and sanitation facilities at pilot schools.
The pilot project will also enable schools to buy food from local traders or smallholder farmers, stimulating agricultural production in the Kyrgyz Republic’s most food-insecure areas.
“The Russian Federation is proud to contribute to an innovative approach to develop a sustainable school meals system in the Kyrgyz Republic that promotes economic growth and at the same time improves access to education,” said the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kyrgyz Republic Andrey Krutko. “Our work with the World Food Programme will help children reach their full educational potential and build a brighter future for their country.”
The Russian Federation grant will enable WFP to provide technical assistance to the Kyrgyz government to increase the effectiveness, accountability, sustainability and cost-efficiency of the existing school meals programme, while at the same time building the government’s capacity.
“With support from the Russian Federation and leadership from the Kyrgyz Government, the Kyrgyz Republic will have improved school meals models that can be replicated throughout the country, and across institutional settings, including orphanages and pre-schools,” said WFP Kyrgyz Republic Representative and Country Director Ram Saravanamuttu.
The project aims to develop ways of providing school meals that are effective, accountable, sustainable and cost-efficient and has already demonstrated positive results. This academic year, which began a few days ago, more than 10,300 children are receiving improved school meals that include nutritious soup, porridge and pastries. By the end of 2014, WFP will be reaching over 25,000 primary schoolchildren in the Kyrgyz Republic’s poorest provinces with improved school meals.
“The school meals programme is an integral part of the Kyrgyz Republic’s education and health systems for children,” said Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic Dogdurkul Kendirbaeva. “This is the right way forward for the Kyrgyz Republic and we believe that by working together with WFP, we will build a stronger nation with healthier children for generations to come. There is no greater investment a country can make than in the welfare of its children”.
The Government of the Russian Federation has been providing food assistance to vulnerable communities in developing countries since 2003. From 2009 to 2012, the Russian Federation contributed over US$21 million to WFP’s operations in the Kyrgyz Republic making it the single largest supporter to WFP in the Kyrgyz Republic.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Elizabeth Zalkind, WFP/Bishkek, Tel: +993 312 66 00 33, Mob. +996 555 940 420