MoEYS, KOICA AND WFP REPRESENTATIVES VISIT KAMPONG CHHNANG TO CELEBRATE THE RESUMPTION OF SCHOOL MEALS
24 January 2022
Kampong Chhnang – Today, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), the Country Director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) visited primary schools in Kampong Chhnang province to inaugurate school feeding kitchens, eating halls and other facilities supported by KOICA, while celebrating the resumption of school meals for the 2022 school year. They were accompanied on their tour by senior representatives of the Smet and Ang Serey primary schools and local authorities.
Embedded in the national education and social protection policy frameworks, the school feeding programme provides nutritious breakfasts to 276,000 primary and pre-primary school children in 1,113 schools across ten provinces. In 2022, school feeding in 290 of these schools is entirely funded and run by the Government as part of the national school feeding programme.
School feeding contributes to children’s education and human capital development. Enhancing nutrition supports children’s cognitive development and health. When children are well-fed, they are also better able to concentrate and learn, leading to better school performance.
Targeted to the poorer areas of Cambodia, school feeding also benefits parents by acting as an indirect income transfer, allowing them to save the money they would have spent on their children’s breakfast for other needs.
“Since the programme started, we have noticed a reduction in drop-out rates and a boost in the retention rate,” said H.E. Dr Hang Chuon Naron, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, adding that providing children with nutrient-rich foods through free school meals strongly motivates families to send and keep their children in school while easing the burden on the household.
Alongside its other education projects in Cambodia, KOICA has supported the school feeding programme since 2020. Thanks to KOICA’s $10 million investment, 69,000 school children in Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Kampong Thom provinces receive nutritious breakfasts daily.
“We are delighted that the home-grown school feeding programme has fully resumed, ensuring that children are able to go to school, receive nutritious meals and study to the best of their ability,” said RHO Hyunjun, KOICA Country Director. “Education is such a game-changer for a country’s development, and we don’t want to leave any child behind. We hope our humble contribution will play a role in this.”
Under the home grown-school feeding model supported by KOICA, school feeding also benefits the community at large. The food served at school is grown and purchased locally thus providing predictable income-generating opportunities for local smallholder farmers and suppliers and benefiting the local economy.
“We thank KOICA for its support to school feeding in Cambodia,” said Claire Conan, WFP Representative and Country Director in Cambodia. “Beyond meals themselves, KOICA’s support also extends to enhancing the enabling environment for school feeding through capacity strengthening initiatives and the construction of standard model kitchens, eating halls and WASH. These initiatives are important building blocks for the national school feeding programme as it continues to grow in the future.”