Switching to hot meals is an important step which can be difficult for schools to undertake for various reasons: lack of necessary conditions (sewage system, water supply, canteen, kitchen facilities and equipment), lack of funding and lack of qualified personnel.
Thanks to the School Feeding Optimisation Programme financed by the Russian Federation, implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic with WFP support and SIFI’s technical assistance, 850 schools have already switched to hot meals. Many of these can set an example and motivate other schools to decide to improve school meals for their students and organise things according to high standards.
The exchange visits are designed to help these schools make the transition to hot meals, which are much better and indispensable for young bodies to grow. As part of the campaign, schools will be able to share the best, truly effective organisational and managerial practices regarding the transition to hot school meals.
The visit programme started with the Saidakhmatov Secondary School in the Aravan district. Delegations from each region, composed by school principals, representatives of local authorities, the parents' committee or school board of trustees and school nutrition specialists of the departments of education from the districts examined the experience of organisation of hot meals in this school, visited the greenhouse and school canteen. They also took part in an agro-training session on how to use school gardens to produce food for school feeding and generate additional income.
At the second one, Parpiyev School in the Kara-Suu district, participants not only learned about the school's transition to hot meals and the usage of a school greenhouse, but also worked on the improvement of the quality of meals in their schools, composing with a help of experts a varied and balanced menu.
The selection of schools for the exchange visits underwent several stages. In the spring of this year, schools interested in improving school meals and willing to address existing problems sent in applications to take part in the campaign to learn from the successful experiences of other schools. In the summer, the organisers selected one motivated school per region.
At the end of the exchange visits, each school will prepare its own action plan for the improvement of school feeding in accordance with the information they learned from the successful experience in the Osh Region. The schools will then be provided with guidance on how to implement the developed projects.