WFP ready to launch school feeding pilot bakeries in Tajikistan

03/05/2016 14:35
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, April 3, 2016, Asia-Plus – School bakeries installed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in two schools in Norak and Roghun will benefit around 3,600 children in schools throughout the two districts, according to WFP Country Office in Tajikistan.

The schools are reportedly part of WFP’s school meals program that provides a daily nutritious hot lunch to almost 370,000 schoolchildren in over 2,000 schools in rural Tajikistan.

“The two bakeries will produce bread using WFP’s vitamin and mineral-enriched wheat flour and they will have the capacity to provide nutrient-rich bread to eight schools in Roghun and 14 schools in Norak,” said WFP Deputy Country Director in Tajikistan Andrea Bagnoli.  “Baking the bread inside the school allows for better control over the quality of the bread served to the children. This investment will prove vital in increasing the schools’ capacity in the two districts and help ensure a regular supply of delicious bread from the school bakeries.”

The bakery pilot is a collaboration project with the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute’s (SIFI) and is one of the capacity-building activities which are part of WFP’s school meals program.  Both schools already benefit from WFP food supplies that include fortified wheat flour, pulses, fortified oil and iodized salt.

SIFI technicians installed the equipment and trained staff at both schools. The training, led by SIFI’s food technologist Igor Kharkov, familiarized staff with the equipment, bread preparation and also gave them valuable information on health, hygiene and nutrition.  Both schools will have a quality assurance committee, who have all received training, comprising of the school director, a teacher and a nurse.

“A well-equipped kitchen not only saves time, it allows students to observe a professional bread baking process and most importantly improves the overall quality of the bread,” said Sangali Shoyev, the director of School No.1 in Roghun.  “The process is now a lot more streamlined and efficient, it was all done manually before and it took an entire day to bake bread for the school’s 600 students. Now, with the upgraded bakery, it would take no more than two hours.”

The local government is supporting School No1 in Roghun with electricity costs, and to complement WFP’s investment in the bakery, is also investing in much-needed renovation work during the summer break.

Tajikistan’s school feeding program is WFP’s primary activity in the country and it aims at strengthening national social protection systems.  The program started in 1999 with only 5,000 schoolchildren in 33 schools and has been expanding ever since.  In 2015, WFP school feeding covered 60 percent of all rural schools in the country.

The Russian Federation has been a major donor to Tajikistan’s School Feeding Program since 2005 and actively supports the current transition process by which ultimately the program will be run entirely by the government.

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