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School meals in Tajikistan reached the national level

Less than ten years have passed since the start of the implementation of the WFP technical assistance project in restoring the school feeding system, as the Government of Tajikistan, by Decree No. 205 of April 27, 2022, approved the State Programme for the Development of School Feeding in the Republic for 2022-2027. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Tajikistan will coordinate the implementation of the State Programme.

Up to this point, primary school students were fed in schools under the WFP project. Now, gradually, the responsibility for financing school meals will shift from an international organization to the Government. Funding for school lunches will be allocated for the most part from the state budget. The ultimate goal of the State Programme is to provide free hot school meals to all primary school students.

The State Programme is aimed at modernizing the school feeding system, which will improve the quality and nutritional value of school meals, thereby strengthening children's health and raising the level of education.

Over the six years of the State Programme implementation, a number of tasks will have to be solved: to restore the school canteens’ infrastructure and supply them with clean water, electricity and heating. After that, equip catering units with modern technological equipment necessary for the preparation of high-quality and safe food. And, of course, to train personnel, which is so necessary for the competent school feeding organization management and the organization of school meals itself.

Alone, it is difficult for the Government to implement the entire range of tasks envisaged by the State Programme. To increase the sustainability of work, public-private partnership mechanisms will be developed, local farmers and the local community will be involved. Special attention will be paid to the development of mechanisms for the self-sufficiency of schools with fresh products: the creation and development of school farms, greenhouses, bakeries, and processing lines.
In the first year, under the State Programme, it is planned to provide school meals to 15,400 students in grades 1-4 in 42 schools in 24 cities and regions of the country. State budget expenditures will amount to 5.5 million somoni.

A large and solid brick has been laid in the foundation of a healthy future for little Tajiks. There is still a lot to be done, but thanks to solid work, all goals will be achieved!

For reference
To date, about 500,000 primary school students in more than 2,000 schools across Tajikistan are receiving nutritious hot meals through a WFP project. At the same time, special attention is paid to the conditions for preparing meals so that school meals are of the highest quality, healthy and safe for schoolchildren. And school chefs, in turn, improve their skills at training courses.

The State Programme for the Development of School Feeding in the Republic of Tajikistan for 2022-2027 was developed as part of the implementation of the Strategy for Sustainable Development of School Feeding for the period until 2027, approved by the Government of the Republic on September 29, 2017.

All this time, WFP, in partnership with SIFI, has been working with pilot schools in rural areas of Tajikistan to test and implement effective mechanisms for ensuring food security and improving the health of the vulnerable population, improving student learning outcomes through the development of school meals.