Take-home food rations to schoolchildren in Tajikistan as part of its response to coronavirus crisis
As part of its response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provided one-off take-home food rations to 24,000 vulnerable families whose children benefit from WFP’s school feeding programme in Tajikistan.
The food rations support the government’s Social Protection Preparedness and Response Plan led by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population (MoHSP). Following schools’ closures to minimize risks of contacting and spreading the virus, WFP stepped in to ensure the families of the most vulnerable schoolchildren continue to receive the much-needed food assistance.
The distributed take-home rations consist of fortified wheat flour, vegetable oil and yellow chickpeas that were previously intended for the preparation of daily hot school meals under the WFP-led School Feeding Programme. In 2019, more than 500,000 Tajik schoolchildren from grades 1 to 4 in 2,000 schools across 52 rural districts were served hot, nutritious soup or other local meals and a piece of traditional bread made from the assistance provided by WFP.
The School Feeding Programme is WFP’s largest operation in Tajikistan and represents the organization’s strong commitment to changing lives. In vulnerable and food insecure communities, providing healthy food to children at school can mean not only better nutrition and health, but also increased access to education.
In Tajikistan, WFP focuses on supporting development programmes that help strengthen institutional capacities. Since 1999, the organization has been partnering with the Government of Tajikistan to implement and manage school feeding in the country.
With the financial support of the Russian Federation, WFP, in cooperation with the Russian NGO Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI), is working with the Tajik Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population and the Ministry of Education and Science towards the gradual transition of the School Feeding Programme to full national ownership starting from 2021.