World Food Programme Expands its School Meals Programme in Kyrgyzstan

World Food Programme has expanded its School Meals Programme in Kyrgyzstan to cover more than half of Kyrgyzstan’s primary schools over the next five years, thanks to a contribution of US$10 million from the Russian Federation. The expansion of the programme was announced at a ceremony in the Novopokrovka School.

With this support from Russia, WFP will be able to continue making a difference in the lives of schoolchildren across the Kyrgyz Republic while at the same time boosting local agricultural production and rural development, especially among the poorest.

The Minister of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic, Gulmira Kudaiberdieva said, “Thanks to the support from our long-standing partners the Russian Federation and WFP, we can improve school meals in Kyrgyzstan, ensuring their benefits go beyond the classroom.”

Currently, the programme provides nutritious hot meals to 114,000 primary school students in 335 schools around the country and will be expanded to reach an additional 175,000 students in over 500 new schools in the country’s poorest rural areas.

WFP Kyrgyz Republic Country Director Andrea Bagnoli said, “We aim to ensure that all primary school-aged children in the Kyrgyz Republic have access to safe and nutritious food all year round. School meals improve the learning environment for young children so they can achieve better results, paving the way for increased economic productivity in the future.”

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kyrgyz Republic, Andrey Krutko said, “The Russian Federation is proud to be making a real difference, paving the way for a stronger education and food system in the country. We’re committed to broadening our support to WFP and the Kyrgyz Republic to enable the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, so there is better education and food security for everyone.”

With new funding, WFP will continue investing in renovating canteens, providing schools with kitchen equipment, training school chefs and helping schools establish vegetable gardens to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. The Ministry of Education and WFP have pledged their commitment to continuing improving national school meals policy – this will include revising procurement regulations so that more produce can be purchased from smallholder farmers.

Since the start of WFP operations in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation has contributed over US$60 million in support of WFP’s activities, making it the single largest donor to WFP in the Kyrgyz Republic.

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