Latest news

Games, tricks, and immersive theater: Dushanbe celebrates World Food Day

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI) joined efforts to conduct a large-scale event in Dushanbe to celebrate World Food Day. The annual celebration took place on October 21 and was dedicated to water, an indispensable resource for maintaining life on Earth. How did it go?

Held in the spacious botanical garden, the event consisted of various thematic corners. Thus, numerous guests could find out about the achievements of agriculture and crafting, see the stands titled “Innovative ideas for the use of water in agriculture,” “International Year of Millets 2023”, and children’s drawings on the theme of World Food Day, as well as learn more about the crops grown in Tajikistan and the operating irrigation systems.

Involving in healthy eating through games

On this day, the emphasis was on educating the younger generation in the spirit of adhering to the norms of healthy eating. A separate children's section was set up for this purpose during the event, which was attended by about 250 people, including 75 children and teachers from Dushanbe's School No.34, as well as parents with children who were walking in the park that day.

The children's program started with an immersive fairy tale performance about the importance of healthy nutrition. The young spectators delved into the action and directly participated in the scenes. The artists raised topics such as balanced nutrition, dietary diversity, the benefits of water for the body, and the need to follow a diet. The information was presented entertainingly, using different genres and techniques combined in one performance: puppet theater, water painting, musical theater, and paper theater.

The children could comprehend complicated topics presented in an understandable manner, and their emotions, intense curiosity, and eagerness to participate in the performance revealed their keen interest in healthy eating.

After the performance, a professional magician entertained the audience with funny tricks and jokes, attracting spectators to participate in various activities. The children answered the questions, laughed, and played with the actor.

Teachers Nazokat and Mavlyuda from School No. 34 were invited to participate along with the fourth-grade children. “The kids and we really liked it here,” Mavlyuda says. “They got to understand which foods benefit the body and which do not. They learned a lot and enjoyed the active games the best.”

The purpose of the simple but informative activities in the play area was to teach the younger generation to take care of their health from an early age and, at the same time, educate adults on a healthy and balanced diet.

The play area consisted of several playgrounds. After completing each task, the children received coins they could exchange for useful prizes: notebooks, glasses, caps, T-shirts, jump ropes, rackets, balls, and other gifts. The more competitions they entered, the more coins they collected and the more valuable prizes they got!

The youngsters and their parents had a good time playing the games, including the one dedicated to healthy nutrition and lifestyle. The "Travel with Taste" board game was created expressly by SIFI and WFP to promote the country's School Feeding Programme.

On another site, participants were asked to paint figurines of vegetables and fruits and describe their taste, benefits, seasonality, and what can be prepared from them.

Cooking lovers could visit the “Delicious Soup” playground, a fun relay race in which teams were asked to imagine that they were cooking soup by putting ingredients in their saucepan. To confuse the little cooks, the organizers offered some products that could not be used for making the dish. With the help of the game, the children not only learned how to cook healthy soups but had to show wits.

While walking through the park that day, Farzona, her husband, and their son heard music and children's voices. They decided to find out what was happening and eventually joined the celebration: “I liked that there were many children and games for them. Even though my son is still small, he found it very interesting here. He got a lot of impressions." Farzona’s son, despite his young age, bravely joined “cooking the soup.”

Under the supervision of SIFI technologist Zulfiya Fayziyeva, children and their parents made sandwiches and smoothies at the "Create Your Taste" playground. Trying to pick only healthy ingredients, they competed to make the healthiest dish or drink. The testers tasted the food and provided feedback.

11-year-old Madina was invited to the event by her aunt, who works in the Zebo dance ensemble, which performed at the celebration. “I liked it here. I made a sandwich from healthy ingredients, and I want to participate in other games to learn new things,” Madina said.

Sack racing proved to be the funniest game. With both legs inside the sack, the children had to go through obstacles and hop toward the finish line without falling. The hopping players caused genuine laughter and joy. One of the participants, Firuz, said that he competed at all sites: “My goal was to earn coins for a big prize — a sand play set, and I succeeded. I didn’t expect the games to be so funny and useful for me; I learned a lot of new things.”

The children painted, made sandwiches and smoothies, races, modeled objects from playdough, laughed, and received gifts. Undoubtedly, their day was a success because no one left the event without a pleasant souvenir and positive emotions.

Official addresses

During the official part of the event, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Zevarsho Zevarshoev, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Food Safety under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan Mahmud Shirindzhonzoda, representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tajikistan Khayom Turakhonzod, WFP Deputy Country Director in Tajikistan Charles Inwani, UN FAO Country Representative Oleg Guchkeldiev and Provost for International Relations of the Tajik Agrarian University Samandarzoda Iskandar delivered speeches.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture noted, “Despite the progress, 2.4 billion people worldwide do not have access to pure drinking water. That is why this year’s theme was “Water for life, water for food.” More than 500 events on this topic were held in 150 countries and organizations, and our country is no exception.”

At the end of the celebration, the presenters emphasized: “The Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI) joined FAO and WFP to become a partner in organizing this wonderful festival. Since 2013, SIFI has been helping to implement the WFP School Feeding Programme in Tajikistan, taking care of schoolchildren’s nutrition and educating them by organizing homeroom hours and healthy eating weeks.”

Since 2023 has been declared the International Year of Millets, everyone could taste national dishes with millet and traditional pilaf, which is served at any World Food Day celebration in Tajikistan.