RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan received today the delegation headed by Deputy Regional Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe Kate Newton.

ESCS Deputy Minister Artհur Martirosyan, Director of the UN WFP Armenian Office Nanna Skau, and Director of the “School Nutrition and Child Welfare” Agency Satenik Mkrtchyan attended the meeting.

Zhanna Andreasyan greeted the guests and emphasized the significance of productive collaboration and achievements with the UN World Food Programme.

“It is thrilling that Armenia's experience is considered exemplary for a number of states. Last year, the School Nutrition program was fully nationalized and transferred to the Government of Armenia, and in October Armenia participated in the first School Meals” Coalition Global Summit, held in Paris. This was a really significant initiative that enabled us to become a participant in this process and share our experience by studying theirs, said Zhanna Andreasyan.

Thankful for the reception, UN WFP Deputy Regional Director for Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe Kate Newton congratulated Armenia on the full nationalization of the program, highlighting that Armenia is a prime example of how the "School Feeding" program has successfully been implemented.

Minister Zhanna Andreasyan informed meeting participants that efforts are in progress to enroll Yerevan schools into the “School Feeding” program by the start of the 2025-26 academic year, thus expanding the number of children benefiting.

The ESCS Minister stated that starting from January 2023, thousands of 1-4th grade pupils in 1,075 schools across 10 regions of Armenia are provided with meals funded by the state budget. In the meantime, the number of beneficiaries has increased, since more than 17 thousand school-age children forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan on September 19, 2023, were enrolled in schools in the regions of Armenia. The nutrition issue for primary school children has been addressed from the very first days, and now they are provided with nutritious meals along with their peers.

According to the Director of the “School Nutrition and Child Welfare” Agency Satenik Mkrtchyan, initially, some schools provided hot meals also to higher-grade students forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh.

ESCS Deputy Minister Arthur Martirosyan also highlighted Armenia's membership in the “School Meals” coalition, emphasizing that the successful program implementation in Armenia has sparked interest in many other countries. Arthur Martirosyan informed that at the first Global Summit of the “School Meals” Coalition in Paris, there was a suggestion to foster collaboration at the local government level, namely between the municipalities of Milan and Yerevan

During the meeting, the activities of the "School Nutrition and Child Welfare" Agency were also discussed, highlighting the importance of ensuring its continuity.