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Expanding horizons: SIFI and WFP handed over Gegharkunik and Lori marzes to the National School Feeding Programme

The transition of the marzes to the National School Feeding Programme guarantees that the Government will allocate 140 drams per day for one elementary school student for each school lunch.

The day at school No. 27 of Vanadzor in Lori marz has begun today with a pleasant bustle. Dear guests were expected: Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia Vahram Dumanyan, his Deputy Zhanna Andreasyan, WFP Country Director and Representative in Armenia Jelena Milosevic, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Armenia Sergey Kopyrkin, as well as representatives of SIFI and other international organizations, local authorities, beneficiary schools.

In honor of the solemn event, the guests enjoyed the performances of students of the hostess school, as well as the school of the Gandzak village. The performances were dedicated to the topic of healthy eating and lifestyle. The guests also toured the greenhouses, established within the framework of the programme, at the same time taking part in the taste
testing organized by the School Feeding Programme.

The official part of the event was dedicated to the stories of the beneficiary schools in Lori and Gegharkunik, the results achieved and plans for the development of the programme.

Before joining the National Programme, school canteens in two marzes were renovated, equipped with modern equipment, school cooks improved their skills in training courses to prepare healthy and tasty meals for children in accordance with all the requirements of high-quality school meals. All this was done thanks to the joint efforts of the Government, WFP, local authorities, school headmasters and, of course, parents.

The transition to the National Programme of Gegharkunik Marz was planned last year. However, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the event had to be postponed. “It should be noted that we have effectively used this time, renovating school canteens so that children have the opportunity to receive hot meals,” — noticed Vahram Dumanyan.

Work on the development of sustainability of school feeding in the country began a long time ago and has shown excellent results. In 2020, the Sustainable School Feeding Programme celebrated its 10th anniversary, which has become a symbol of successful strategic cooperation between the Republic of Armenia, the Russian Federation, WFP and its partners.

“Over the past ten years, thanks to the Programme, 16 school greenhouses, 15 school gardens, 86 schools have been equipped with solar panels, and canteens of 816 schools have been equipped with modern equipment, and 512 school canteens have been repaired. These are important results that help us move on,” — said Vahrama Dumanyan, reaffirming the readiness of the Armenian Government to support and develop the School Feeding Programme for the health of children, their quality education and a successful future.

According to Jelena Milosevic, thanks to long-term cooperation with the Government of Armenia, the School Feeding Programme in Armenia, with its substantial infrastructural and human capital investments has emerged into a foundation that drives community development, enhances the whole society ownership, provides multi layer education and job opportunities and promote healthy nutritious lifestyle.

"With our partners we agreed on a very important strategic approach that prepares for and builds the future with the commitment of multi-year investments”, — said Jelena Milosevic, adding that the achievements celebrated today proves that this approach creates tangible results.

SIFI President Vladimir Chernigov addressed the participants with a video message, congratulating everyone on the work done and wishing further success in handing over the next marzes to the National School Feeding Programme.

To date, the National School Feeding Programme has already covered eight marzes: Vayots Dzor, Syunik, Ararat, Tavush, Shirak, Aragatsotn, as well as newly arrived Gegharkunik and Lori. The next ones are: Armavir in 2022 and Kotayk in 2023. Thus, 102,000 children from 1,070 primary schools in the Republic of Armenia will have the opportunity to enjoy a good portion of a hot, balanced and delicious lunch.