KATHMANDU, Feb 2: Children from food insecure areas of mid and far-western Nepal will now receive a meal of fortified rice, pulses and fortified vegetable oil under the Schools Meal Programme (SMP).
Speaking at a national consultation meeting in Kathmandu jointly organized by the World Food Program (WFP) and the Ministry of Education, officials said that the new food basket will replace Haluwa, a nutritious porridge-like meal consisting of a fortified corn-soya blend with sugar and oil, which school children were receiving so far. The new meal menu was piloted in Dailkeh last year and now will be expanded to all schools, under the new program cycle, according to WFP officials.
Under the School Health and Nutrition initiative, the Government of Nepal with contributions from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and support from the WFP has been providing mid-day meals to 270,000 children across Nepal. A mid-day meal comprising nutritious haluwa is being provided to school children in 10 remote mid and far-western districts since 2015. Apart from the school meal program that provides children meal prepared at schools, there is a separate government-funded cash-based model to provide meals to students.
With the new project beginning from 2018, up to 240,000 school children in food insecure and vulnerable areas of 11 districts will be provided the new type of meal till 2021. Pippa Bradford, WFP Nepal representative and country director, said, “A child can't learn if all she's thinking about is her empty stomach. School meals act as an incentive for parents to send their children to school, especially girls, and help to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.”