Japan Donates $700k to UN’s Papua School Meals Initiative

The United Nations World Food Program on Thursday (06/06) received nearly $700,000 from Japan to support the organization’s school meals program and broader efforts to tackle food insecurity in Papua.

Under the WFP’s school meals program, nutritious foods are sourced from local smallholder farmers in Indonesia to use as the main ingredients in meals served in schools, a WFP press release said.

“WFP is very grateful for this important assistance from Japan, which will help us provide healthy and nutritious school meals to students in 11 Papua elementary schools,” Coco Ushiyama, WFP’s Indonesia representative and country director, said in the release.

“It will also enhance our collective work to improve food and nutrition security among schools, smallholder farmers and poor rural communities.”

Two years ago, WFP phased out its traditional program providing nutritious biscuits as snacks to schoolchildren. This new model has been successfully piloted in East Nusa Tenggara province. The effort to bring smallholder farmers’ associations into the food supply chain for school meals has created production incentives and new income-generating opportunities, the statement said.

“School meal programs are important in promoting health and nutrition as well as education,” said Yoshinori Katori, the Japanese ambassador to Indonesia.

Typically, school meal programs help increase attendance, attention spans, and the overall health and well-being of schoolchildren, while teachers, parents and cooks learn important facts on nutrition and how to maintain a healthy diet, the WFP statement said. The program’s inclusion of many members of the community has a multiplier effect that leads to a more nutritious and balanced diet throughout the population, it added.

In addition to the school meals program, WFP said it is supporting the government’s push for food and nutrition security for all through several other initiatives, particularly in light of the archipelago’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

These include upgrading food and nutrition security monitoring and analysis tools, improvements in food diversification and supply chain management, and an expansion of public-private partnerships.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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Filed under Development, Education, Papua

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