The Arpi lake community has become a pilot project sight where based on the economic and geographic characteristics of the region different mechanisms for the development of sustainable National School Feeding Programme are tested by WFP and SIFI.
The main idea of the project is to improve school feeding and its economic sustainability by increasing funding from communities. In the Arpi community, WFP and SIFI are investing in local businesses to make them profitable and contribute to the School Feeding programme.
«One of the most important components in the upbringing and health of our children is balanced nutrition. I am glad to see the development of the School Feeding Programme in Armenia and the results of the project implemented by the UN World Food Programme with the financial assistance of the Russian Federation and the experience of Russian colleagues», — said the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Gyumri Ruslan Kandaurov.
As part of the project, solar panels were installed in five schools, and greenhouses were additionally installed in two of them. Solar stations generate electricity for preparing school meals. Greenhouses, on the other hand, allow growing natural vegetables and greens for a variety of school meals, and selling surplus crops to the locals, thereby obtaining an additional source of income to cover school needs.
«At WFP we are committed to implement projects that do not have negative environmental impacts. The usage of solar stations in this project is an important example of how green solutions can lead to positive sustainable development», — noted in her speech the Deputy Country Director of the UN WFP in Armenia Nanna Skau.
In addition, the project is collaborating with four dairy and poultry factories that have received new equipment for mechanizing processes and solar panels to reduce energy costs.
Under the project, the “Arpi Community Development and Investment” Fund was officially established. WFP together with SIFI, provide guidance and technical support to the foundation that will be later responsible for maintaining the sustainability of the school feeding programme in the community.
«The Arpi project has set up a mechanism where the project assets themselves continue to generate money over 25 years which can be invested in the needs of the community. If this reinvestment mechanism is used effectively we can expect to see real long-term change.
It is of particular importance that the focus of the investments is on the school feeding programme. Children are the future of Armenia, and of the world, and by investing in their nutrition we are helping them to build their future and realize their full potential», added Nanna Skau.
The event was attended by the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Gyumri Ruslan Kandaurov, Head of the Department of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia Hrayr Krapetyan, the Deputy Country Director of the UN WFP in Armenia Nanna Skau, SIFI and “School Feeding and Child Welfare” Agency (NCEDI) representatives, headmaster of the Garnarich village Naira Abrahamyan, as well as local farmers.
The guests got acquainted with the project, perspectives of realization of similar development projects within the framework of the National School Feeding Programme., visited one of the greenhouses and poultry farms, and ended the excursion with a wonderful lunch in the school canteen with tasting cheese, butter, tomatoes and other natural delicacies from local farmers.