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School meals in focus: SABER meeting was carried out in Dushanbe

From December 1 to 2, the meeting on assessing the situation with school feeding in Tajikistan was carried out in Dushanbe under the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER).
The main participants of the school feeding programme in the country gathered to assess the opportunities of creating a sustainable school feeding system at the national level, to identify existing problems, share valuable experiences and discuss a plan for further actions to achieve the main goal — to provide absolutely all primary school students with a hot free lunch at school.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Tajikistan Kodirzoda Dilovar, Head of the Department of Education, Science and Information of the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Odinazoda Ramazon, Chairman of the Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth Policy of the Parliament of the Republic of Tajikistan Sodiki Nasiba, Minister Counselor Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Tajikistan Shamil Shamsutdinov, representatives of the UN WFP, SIFI, as well as a wide range of participants, including representatives of Parliament, government agencies, regional departments of education, schools, parent-teacher associations (PTA).

SIFI representative Suhrob Babadjanov acquainted the participants with The Draft State Program for the development of school feeding for 2022-2027, which is now under the first consideration of the ministries and departments of Tajikistan.

Among the priority tasks of the project:
  • to identify sustainable funding mechanisms;
  • to improve the conditions of school canteens and equip the catering units with modern technological equipment;
  • to prepare qualified school cooks;
  • to develop public-private partnerships, sustainable food supply for schools involving local farmers.

The fulfillment of all these tasks will help to gradually cover all primary school students of the country with high-quality healthy hot meals at the expense of the state budget, reduce the incidence rate and improve the health of the younger generation, as well as create a stable sales market for local agricultural products.

SABER is a truly important event for Tajikistan. Participants not only assess the difficulties that the government may face during the transition to the nationalization of the school feeding programme, but also outline ways to overcome them, to ensure support from all participants in the process.

The SABER methodology was developed by the World Bank, WFP and The Partnership for Child Development and has been widely adopted around the world. The methodology compares the level of development of school feeding in different countries, creates an action plan for the development of school feeding policy in a particular country, and also evaluates the effectiveness of the programme over time.