Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Author of submission (name, surname, position, organization)

Elena Bolotnikova, Director on International Cooperation, Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute

Title of your example

Alternative School Feeding Model for City Schools


Sustainable food systems for improved nutrition;

Date, location and geographic scope of your example (regional, sub-regional, national, local)

2013–2017, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, local

Main responsible entity(ies) for the implementation of your example

The project was initiated by UN WFP with technical assistance from the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI) and support from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek City Administration and Bishkek Education Department. 

Key objectives and implementation approach of your example 

The National School Feeding Programme has been implemented in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2006. Bishkek city authority allocates 14 soms ($0.20) per child per day to provide primary schoolchildren with free drink (tea, milk or dried fruit drink) and a bun or a cookie. Around 140 mln. Kyrgyz soms (approx. 2 mln. USD) is provided from the municipal budget of Bishkek only for food procurement for the needs of school feeding. This kind of ration is far from being nutritional and healthy, and does not meet nutrient rate necessary for children. The analysis of nutritious value of school rations before the pilot showed that primary schoolchildren were receiving only about 47% of protein, 44% fat, 54% of required vitamin and 71% mineral intake. Carbohydrate intake was about 81%, but was predominantly composed of fast carbs.

The Kyrgyz Government sought WFP UN assistance in introducing school feeding models to provide schoolchildren with nutritious and balanced diet. WFP and its technical partner organization the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI) proposed a pilot project to optimize school feeding by introducing outsourcing company to provide school meals. Funds allocated by the city authorities were insufficient to provide nutritional ration. It was proposed to ask parents to co-finance the new improved menu.

School No.64 of Bishkek was chosen for this pilot implementation, as it is one of the biggest schools in Bishkek by the number of primary school children and it has a large number of children from disadvantaged families and families, which moved to Bishkek from the regions for the search of employment opportunities.

The objectives of the pilot project were as follows:

  • pilot an optimized model of outsourcing school meals provision to primary schoolchildren in city schools;
  • analyze existing legislation, tender documentation and contracts in organizing school feeding based on outsourcing model, develop recommendations to optimize school feeding process;
  • engage parents’ community into voluntary school meals co-financing in order to improve nutrition value and varieties of school rations.

Multi-faceted pilot implementation approach included:

  • Reconstruction of kitchen’s electricity, water supply and sanitation infrastructure and renovation of canteen premises;
  • Canteen reequipment with modern and technological kitchen equipment;
  • Capacity building of canteen staff;
  • Exchange visit to share experience with a similar project implemented in Russia
  •  Analysis of existing documentation regulating relationships between outsourcing companies and schools, development of recommendations to introduce changes into existing school feeding process in the city,
  • Introduction of an optimized school menu for primary school children.

Funding and technical assistance of your example 

SIFI specialists solved a wide range of tasks:

  • conducted assessment of that time present condition of the school canteen, developed technological plans of canteen infrastructure restoration and reequipment.
  • analyzed local laws and regulations related to outsourcing approach to school feeding in Bishkek, developed a set of documents identifying rights and obligations of schools and outsourcing companies as well as analyzed different types of menus from nutritional point of view.
  • conducted trainings for cooks and kitchen staff on how to use new equipment, ways of application of sanitary and hygiene norms and standards of school meals cooking, as well as new vitamin preserving technologies. 

WFP re-equipped school kitchen with the technical assistance in installation from SIFI.

Cost of the pilot project is 84,000 US dollars.

Key stakeholders involved. Describe the cross-sectoral coordination mechanism of your example, if any 

Initiator: Bishkek City Administration

Project management: UN WFP

Implementing partner: Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI)

National partner: Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic

Municipal partners: Bishkek City Administration, Bishkek Education Department, Center for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bishkek.

The project was launched by UN WFP with technical assistance of SIFI and support from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek city administration, Bishkek Education Department, Center for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance of Bishkek.  City authorities and school administration were responsible for infrastructure reconstruction and canteen repair works. WFP purchased all necessary equipment for canteen operation. SIFI provided technical support and capacity development.

How your example addresses food security and nutrition challenges. Describe linkages to social protection policies / school food programs / sustainable food systems

Before the project the situation was as follows:

- sanitation and hygiene standards were not fully met due to the lack of technological equipment (wash tanks, cooker hoods, worktables and racks) and poor infrastructural conditions;

- school menu did not meet the norms of nutrition and energy consumption due to poor use of available resources for food procurement and also limitations in financing provided by the municipal budget;

- school cooks and kitchen staff were not covered by skills development programme and were not fully aware of sanitation and hygiene norms, as well as had limited skills in cooking (due to small varieties of rations and lack of practice);

- city legislation as well as tender documentation and contracts governing relations between outsourcing companies organizing school feeding and city administration had many discrepancies and gaps.

SIFI developed two optional menus at 24 ($0.35) and 34 ($0.50) soms providing parents’ contribution in the amount of 10 ($0.15) and 20 ($0.29) soms respectively to better provide children with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. These options were presented to parents’ community and Bishkek city authorities. Parents and representatives of the city administration had a chance to try dishes included in the new school menus to see great difference between existing school meals for 14 soms allocated by the municipal budget and much more varied menus for insignificant contribution to be made by parents. As the result of the tasting session parents made a decision to contribute 10 soms to diversify school menu.

The project outcomes:

- Canteen was reconstructed and infrastructure improved to ensure safety of cooking process;

- Canteen was fully equipped with modern technological equipment including two combi-steamers allowing to bake until golden brown without oil and butter use and to steam which makes healthy dishes;

- Service equipment (wash tanks, cooker hoods, worktables and racks) was installed to keep up to sanitation norms and requirements; 

- All kitchen staff were covered by a four-day training on school feeding process (from sanitation norms to modern low fat cooking technologies). The staff learned how to apply new equipment and cook nutritious dishes, appealing for children, and to diversify school menu;

- Recommendations to introduce changes to legislation and tender documentation were handed over to the city administration to regulate relations with outsourcing companies to control their work and quality of their services:

- Rations were diversified thanks to parents co-financing of school feeding and budget optimization through an outsourcing company:

- Due to optimization and diversification of school menu primary school children’s nutrient intake increased on average by 20%, vitamin intake by 40% and mineral intake by 25%.

The city authorities were proposed to subsidize the difference in costs of two menus: basic and enriched one. This proposal is under consideration at the moment. 

What are the elements needed for the practice to be institutionally, socially, economically and environmentally resilient and/or sustainable? 

Local authorities should take a proactive approach in cooperating with outsourcing companies involving them in school feeding by creating economic incentives.

As state financing allocated for school feeding is not sufficient, it is vital to legislate on parents’ additional funding.

Schools should work cooperatively with parents’ communities involving them into governance of school feeding programme as well as enlightening them on the role of nutritious food in child development.

Mechanisms for ensuring accountability of school feeding programme to be executed at the local level.

Financial and economic mechanisms should be developed and introduced to schools to raise additional funds to verify school menus. Mechanism should be transparent for parents to be willing to co-finance school feeding initiative. 

Bishkek city authorities and Bishkek education department should analyze lessons learned of the pilot project and replicate it to other city schools.

The project should be linked to social protection policies to ensure low-income families to get more varied ration: the difference between costs of a menu to be covered by the municipal budget.

The impact of your example on national policies and people’s lives. What indicators have been used to measure it? 

More than 1,200 primary schoolchildren of the pilot school get diversified, balanced and safe hot meals arranged by a new outsourcing model involving parents’ contribution.  

Municipal partners obtain guidelines how to improve municipal legislation and other documentation, which formalizes relationship between city administration and outsourcing companies.

City authorities are able to replicate the pilot project example using their own resources.

Key lessons (positive and negative) that can be learned from your example and how gaps, obstacles and any other adverse conditions were addressed 

  • Introduction of new approaches to organization of school feeding and modern technological solutions can significantly improve school meals and contribute to school safety;
  • Parents are willing to find cofinancing possibilities to upgrade school meals in case they see positive change;
  • Optimized use of available resources can result in higher nutrient intakes for primary school children;
  • Positive experience of pilot schools can lead to selfreplication practices by municipal administration or individual school;
  • School administration should have active position in finding resources to reconstruct school canteen and be ready to involve parents in school feeding programs and to provide additional funding to diversify school meals;
  • A clear delineation of responsibilities of involved parties (city administration, school administration, partners for development, parents) could highly facilitate implementation process;
  • Division of responsibilities should be documented at the earliest stage possible;
  • Relevant national and municipal authorities should be invited to join transformation activities at the earliest stage to further be able to take full ownership of the processes after the pilot.

Sources and/ or additional background material