WFP and government launch cooked school meals initiative in Bangladesh

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Students in Bangladesh

A joint school meals initiative reaching 14,000 children in Bangladesh's Barguna District was launched Thursday by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) along with the Government of Bangladesh, with funding from the Australian Government Overseas Aid Program (AusAID).

Instead of the micronutrient-fortified biscuits usually provided in school feeding programmes in Bangladesh, children in 63 schools will receive a freshly-prepared nutritious kichuri every day at lunch time. The meals are made from locally procured rice, pulses, nutrient-fortified oil and home-grown vegetables. The rice is fortified with six essential vitamins and minerals, helping ensure the children get all the nutrients they need to grow and learn well.

The school meals initiative aims to benefit the entire community by employing local women as cooks and creating linkages with local vegetable producers. Women from the community will earn income by supplying vegetables for the school meals in their village school. Around 1,000 women vegetable growers who have already been assisted under the Joint UN Food Security and Nutrition Programme in Bamna will also be involved, and a further 3,000 women will be supported to become vegetable suppliers for local schools.

The initiative builds on the ongoing collaboration between the World Food Programme and the Government which together currently supply micronutrient-enriched biscuits to 2.7 million pre-primary and primary schoolchildren in Bangladesh.

WFP Representative Ms Christa Räder said "WFP is honoured to be part of this important learning initiative with the Ministry". She expressed thanks to "the Australian government for its generous contribution which makes this possible".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’32″

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