WFP congratulates Bangladesh on joining global school meals coalition

With Farid Ahmed, secretary, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, signing the Declaration of Commitment, Bangladesh is now a part of the Global School Meals Coalition

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) congratulated the government of Bangladesh on joining the Global School Meals Coalition, which currently has 86 members.

The announcement was made by foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, and primary and mass education secretary Farid Ahmed on the opening day of the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment in Rome on Monday, said a press .

Since 2010, Bangladesh has been investing in the national school feeding programme, with WFP as a key partner.

By 2022, more than 3 million children in 104 sub-districts had been reached with fortified biscuits, and in some locations, hot meals. Study shows that the programme resulted in a 4.2 per cent increase in school enrolment and a 7.5 per cent reduction in dropouts.

With Farid Ahmed signing the Declaration of Commitment, Bangladesh is now a part of the Global School Meals Coalition.

Foreign minister Abdul Momen said, “School feeding is more than food to the children. It is a systemic solution to combat child hunger and nutrition, but also supports the local economy through improving opportunities for small farmers and local entrepreneurs.”

Abdul Momen, foreign minister of Bangladesh at the plenary session titled “School Meals Powering Food System Transformation” at the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment

Building on the success of the past programmes, the new school feeding programme aims to reach 3.5 million students of 20,000 government primary schools over the next three years.

“In the next programme we are planning to shift from fortified biscuits only to a diversified food menu. It will include seasonal fruits, egg, bread bun and milk during a week. We will pilot hot meals in some poorer districts. Diversification will help us to achieve the nutritional outcomes,” added the foreign minister Abdul Momen on the government’s plan for the new national school feeding programme.

Domenico Scalpelli, WFP representative and country director in Bangladesh, said, “WFP is fully committed to continuing supporting the Government of Bangladesh to make school meals available to all targeted children, particularly those from poor and remote areas.”

“We congratulate the Government for joining the Global School Meals Coalition and investing in school meals to secure a brighter future for the children of Bangladesh,” he added.

The School Meals Coalition is an emerging initiative of governments and a wide range of partners to drive actions that can urgently re-establish, improve and scale up food and education systems, support pandemic recovery, and drive actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).