RUDKAI DISTRICT - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Tajikistan and its technical partner, the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI), today held an event to celebrate School Meals Day at School No 1. in Rudaki District.
The event highlighted the achievements and activities of the WFP School Meals Programme through three master classes in healthy cooking, as well as competitions organised by the Athletic Federation of Tajikistan and Olympic track and field gold medalist Dilshod Nazarov.
Tajikistan’s School Meals programme is the largest activity supported by WFP in the country. When it started in 1999, the programme supported 5,000 schoolchildren in 33 schools. It has since expanded and now provides a daily hot lunch to around 370,000 schoolchildren in over 2,000 schools in rural Tajikistan, which is more than 50% of all schools in the country.
“Our school has strong kitchen staff consisting of professional cooks who are happy to be trained further in cooking and kitchen management, and also to share their knowledge with colleagues from other schools elsewhere in the country,” said Mrs. Mukarrama Nematova, Director of School No.1. “We are extremely grateful for the positive improvements this programme has brought to our school as our students need high quality daily nutritious meals, which will now be possible with a proper kitchen and canteen.”
Participants of School Meals Day were able to view the improvements made in the school kitchen and canteen and had a chance to sample daily fresh lunches served at school. Deputy Ministers of Health and Social Protection, Education and Science attended the event together with representatives of the Russian Federation and Japan.
School No 1 is a new to the programme, and will serve as a centre for training and knowledge exchange for managers and technical staff from 2,000 other schools participating in the WFP programme.
“WFP supports the national plan for food security and nutrition in Tajikistan and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that local communities, in particular most vulnerable and food insecure, can meet their needs," concluded the WFP Country Director in Tajikistan, Paolo Mattei.
The Russian Federation has been a major donor to school meals in Tajikistan since 2005, and actively supports efforts to nationalize the programme.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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