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Russian delegation visits Competency Center for School Cooks in Bishkek

In late March, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, welcomed a Russian delegation that included the President of SIFI, Vladimir Chernigov, representatives of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, Deputy Minister of Education, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Mordovia, the rector of the Ogarev National Research Mordovia State University, Dmitry Glushko, and others.

In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has done a lot to improve the quality of school feeding: more and more schools serve hot meals, the law on the Organization of School Feeding has been adopted, modern equipment for the provision of healthy schools meals is installed in remote rural areas, and the number of qualified school cooks steadily increases.

Organization of school feeding is a challenging job. It requires dauntless dedication, a high sense of responsibility, and continuous improvement. So, the representatives of the UN WFP, its technical partner SIFI gathered to discuss what else could be done to make school meals in Kyrgyz schools better.

Among the main priorities, Mr. Chernigov put forth the idea of holding a School Meals International Forum that could bring together all specialists related to the organization of school feeding: international donors, field experts, authorities, and school cooks. Such an event, according to him, can help solve many issues and significantly improve the school feeding system.

In this context, the importance of the visit of the UN WFP Country Director in Kyrgyzstan, Kojiro Nakai, to Moscow and the Republic of Mordovia for the exchange of experience in the organization of school feeding, including cooperation between businesses and schools, was discussed.

As part of the meeting, the delegation attended the Republican Competency Center (RCC) for school cooks and kitchen workers that opened last November in the Kyrgyz capital.

The project was launched through efforts of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science with technical assistance from SIFI. The main goal of the RCC is to train school employees and local authorities engaged in school feeding procedures to properly implement hot meal programs at schools.

In the Center, the school canteen workers learn more about cooking healthy and tasty dishes for the little ones and obtain new skills under the guidance of experienced colleagues: the lessons are held in school canteen-like conditions using the same modern equipment.

RCC director Munara Asizova toured the guests through the Center that is already operating. A pilot training for Bishkek school cooks has been held here recently. She also showed a video about the establishment of the Center, repair works, and the results.

The Rector of the Razzakov Kyrgyz State Technical University, Mirlan Chinibaev, which houses the center, thanked the UN WFP and the Russian Federation for the support and suggested discussing opportunities for bilateral cooperation with the Ogarev National Research Mordovia State University.

Mr. Chernigov, in turn, emphasized that by training school cooks and representatives of the local administration and educating children about balanced nutrition, the RCC will become a solid platform for the development of school feeding in the Kyrgyz Republic. He also said that the role of SIFI as the UN WFP’s main partner is not limited to assisting in establishing competence centers. An interrupted work is carried out to teach children and parents a healthy lifestyle. The SIFI President also offered to use the RCC capabilities to promote healthy eating habits.