In close cooperation with WFP we have strengthened the national capacity to implement and manage the optimized school feeding and assisted the Government with development of solid policy documents. The National School Feeding Programme was launched in 2006 under the law on 'Organization of Feeding in General Education Schools of the Kyrgyz Republic'. It has been focusing on ensuring all primary school children receive state-funded meals in schools. However, school meals largely consisted of black tea and a bun or sweets bringing small nutritional value to children. Therefore, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic committed to revise National school feeding through the development of a national school meals policy and introduction of improved and cost-efficient meals in schools.

In 2013 the Government requested the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to provide technical assistance to optimize the existing school feeding. Within the development project 'School Meals Optimization in the Kyrgyz Republic' (DEV 200176), funded by the Russian Federation, WFP and SIFI, as a cooperating partner, provide technical assistance to enhance existing school feeding programme in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Development of the National School Meals Policy

In close cooperation with WFP we have strengthened the national capacity to implement and manage the optimized school feeding and assisted the Government with development of solid policy documents. One of the biggest achievements of this cooperation in the area of policy making is the adoption in 2014 of 'Key Directions for the Development of School Feeding in the Kyrgyz Republic'. The document asserted the major problems faced by the country in the respective area and fixed priorities for the development of the National School Feeding Programme for the coming 10-12 years. The next milestone in joint policy making will be the approval of the National School Meals Implementation Strategy. The project of the Strategy is currently developed by SIFI in close cooperation with its national partners.
Comprehensive Assessment of School Feeding in the Kyrgyz Republic
In order to insure evidence-based policymaking we together with WFP and other key stakeholders undertook a major study, discovering the current situation in school feeding and exploring perspectives for sustainable development. In order to accumulate information for the study our experts implemented a major field data collection through surveys and interviews of more than 3000 respondents on local, regional and national levels. Results of the Comprehensive Assessment particularly serve the development of the National School Meals Implementation Strategy.
Implementation of a Pilot Project in Rural Schools of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Since 2013 we have been taking an active role in assisting rural schools in transition to more nutritious hot meals for primary school children instead of plain hot tea and a sweet bun. In order to create appropriate conditions for the improved school feeding WFP and SIFI:
  • consult local authorities on renovation of canteens, as well as water and sanitation facilities,
  • develop kitchen plans for re-equipment,
  • provide schools with necessary kitchen equipment,
  • help in development of nutritious menus and supply cooks with recipes approved for school feeding,
  • continuously support and consult school administration and cooks on organization of school feeding through the series of trainings specially developed for Kyrgyzstan and existing level of cookers knowledge.
By September 2017 the number of pilot school will equal 366, which is 16,5% of all the schools in the country. One of the major components of our work in the Kyrgyz Republic within the framework of the pilot project is express-training of school cooks. Each 2-3 day training consists of theoretical and practical components and cover such topics as sanitary and hygiene requirements, rules for food storage, food safety and cooking technology.

During four years of cooperation with WFP in the Kyrgyz Republic SIFI has trained more than 400 cooks.
Implementation of a Pilot Project in an Urban School in Bishkek
Another dimension of field work for SIFI in the Kyrgyz Republic is technical assistance to optimization of school meals at School-Gymnasium №64 in Bishkek. The framework for the organization of school feeding in urban schools is significantly different from the rural one, as meals are provided not directly by school-employed cooks, but by a third-party business via an outsourcing agreement. In order to bring school meals at Gymnasium to the whole new level, SIFI has engaged in the following activities:
  • Analysis and revision of contractual documentation between city authorities and a third-party business;
  • Instructions for renovation of the school canteen and repair of water and sanitation facilities;
  • Development of the plan for re-equipment of the school canteen with the modern professional equipment;
  • Training for canteen staff;
  • Development of the new nutritiously balanced and diverse menu;
  • Communications with parents on additional cash contributions;
  • Organization of a study visit of responsible officials and school representatives to Saransk (Russia) to explore the city's experience if reforming school feeding.

Methodological Support and Advocacy on Healthy Eating
In order to develop capacities of local stakeholders – kitchen staff, school administrations and teaching staff, local authorities and community activists – we have developed various methodological materials, which inform about the importance of nutritionally balanced meals for the growth and development of young organisms, hygiene, sanitation, and instruct how to organize school feeding for the best of children. We also engaged with school children and their parents to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of healthy diet both at school and at home.
On December 8, 2018 for the first time the Healthy Nutrition Festival was carried out in Bishkek under the WFP project on school feeding optimization.
Healthy Nutrition Festival
More projects to elliminate hunger