The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) hands over to the Government of the Republic of Armenia the management of its school feeding programme in Gegharkunik and Lori provinces. WFP has been implementing school feeding in Armenia since 2012, providing over 100,000 schoolchildren with hot and nutritious meals every day.
WFP has been gradually handing over its school feeding programme to the Government of Armenia since 2017. Six provinces had already been nationalized; Vayots Dzor, Syunik, Ararat, Tavush, Shirak and Aragatsotn.
“Thanks to the long-standing partnership with the Government of Armenia and the constant support from the Russian Federation and numerous other partners over the past decade, there has been a substantial investment in schools’ infrastructure as well as human capital in the country,” said WFP Country Director and Representative in Armenia Jelena Milosevic. “School feeding in Armenia has become a key programme that drives community development, enhances national ownership and provides multi-layer education and job opportunities and promotes a healthy lifestyle. The achievements we celebrate today prove that this approach has had tangible positive results.”
In 2020, the programme celebrated its 10th anniversary and the successful strategic cooperation between the WFP, Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation towards creating a national programme for accessible and sustainable school feeding in the country.
“The agreement signed with WFP in 2019 opens a new phase in our relations, as the Sustainable School Feeding programme envisages the introduction of an additional strategic component, which is Transformative School Feeding. Within this component, schools are considered as unique learning platforms contributing to the improvement of human capital development, the health of the population, and stimulating the green and digital regional development of the country”, said the Minister of Education Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia, Vahram Dumanyan.
“Last year didn’t let us realize all the plans on time. But this year, the work went smoothly and we are glad to note that all the necessary efforts have been made to achieve the goals, which we set during the workflow. Yes, there was a delay, but that did not confuse us from the main path – the sequential handover to the National Programme”, said Vladimir Chernigov, the President of the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute.
According to the “National Strategy for Sustainable Development of the School Feeding” action plan, the schools of Armavir, in 2022, and, Kotayk, in 2023, will be handed over to the “National School Feeding Programme” of the Government of Armenia.
School feeding positively reduces poverty rates by 0.4 percentage in Armenia and is a major contributor to the social protection system. For every one US$ invested in Armenia’s school feeding programme, there is a US$7.1 return in the form of improved health and education among school children and increased professional productivity over their lifetime.