• Українською
  • Public-private partnership is an effective way to modernise school canteens: Yuliia Svyrydenko
    Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, posted 31 March 2024 13:10

    Public-private partnerships will allow for the effective modernisation of school canteens. This was stated by Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine, during a large partnership meeting at the “Factory Kitchen” in Bucha, which was attended by First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, Ukrainian ministers, the School Nutrition Reform Office team and international partners on 30 March. The partnership meeting, organised at the first Factory Kitchen, was dedicated to discussing the strategic goals of the school meals reform, which aims to provide quality and healthy food for children in every corner of Ukraine.

    The meeting was attended by the heads and representatives of Ukrainian ministries (Ministry of Economy, Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance), the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, the UN Office in Ukraine, WHO, WFP, UNICEF Ukraine, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, UNOPS Ukraine, DECIDE, ULEAD with Europe, the World Bank’s Action for Health project in Ukraine, the European Investment Bank in Ukraine, the EU Delegation to Ukraine, as well as representatives of the embassies of Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Finland, the United States, Norway, Lithuania, and Estonia.

    “To scale our achievements and results, we need more resources and more partners. We want to find friends who will now help us implement similar projects and continue the reform at their level in each community. Schools and kindergartens, other children’s institutions have become places where, despite the war, healthy eating habits are established for life, thus laying the foundation for the future of the whole society,” said First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

    The partnership meeting had an introductory and discussion nature, and consisted of 2 blocks: an interactive part, during which the participants got acquainted with the work of the Factory Kitchen and immersed themselves in the technological processes of cooking, and the official part of the event, during which the participants took part in a panel discussion with ministers and international partners of the reform.

    “Healthy and balanced food for children in schools is a responsibility of the state, but also an opportunity for business. Both for food producers involved in procurement for schools and for those providing catering services. Speaking of support tools for food producers, our processing grants are currently available, with the possibility of receiving up to UAH 8 million. There is also the Affordable Loans at 5-7-9 programme. This is an opportunity to equip your production and increase capacity. For small businesses, the Vlasna Sprava programme is available, which is a chance to receive UAH 50,000 to 250,000 to start or develop a business. A long-term solution for the effective modernisation of school canteens is public-private partnership. We are currently awaiting the adoption of draft law No. 7508 in the second reading. It will allow us to attract private investment in this area. I hope that the Parliament will support this important draft law,” said Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine.

    During the large partnership meeting, 4 strategic goals of the school meals reform were presented (strengthening the financial and institutional capacity of communities, modernising the infrastructure of educational institutions, ensuring the development of human resources, and creating a culture of healthy eating), including a needs map (the most pressing needs of the reform) created by the reform team and line ministries to better understand the partners’ priorities in line with the strategic goals of the reform.

    As part of the presentation of the strategic goals, representatives of the ministries voiced the most pressing needs of the school feeding reform. In particular, Oleksandra Azarkhina, Deputy Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development, voiced the general need for the construction, restoration and modernisation of canteens in educational institutions throughout Ukraine, stressed the need to attract grant support for the development of project design documents for the construction, reconstruction and overhaul of canteens in educational institutions, and spoke about such needs as training for designers and project organisations and funding for expert support for communities.

    Andrii Stashkiv, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, spoke about the need to ensure equal nutritional opportunities for children and the construction of 24 culinary hubs across Ukraine by the end of 2027, stressed the need to provide training for managers, reported on digital reform projects, and shared plans to create a national award for chefs, the ZnaYimo Awards.

    Minister of Health Viktor Liashko voiced the urgent need to support an information campaign on healthy eating, stressed the need to involve the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in shaping eating habits and healthy lifestyles among students, and outlined the importance of creating educational and didactic materials for Ukrainian schools on the impact of healthy eating.

    The partnership meeting also included a panel discussion with international partners of the reform – UNICEF, WFP, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and DECIDE. The panel was moderated by Svitlana Kisilova, Social and Behaviour Change Specialist at UNICEF. Specific goals for future cooperation were identified, ideas and initiatives were presented that will strengthen the interaction between the state and international partners in the development of the reform.

    Background

    The school meals reform, which began in 2020 at the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska, continues to gain momentum despite the challenges of war. The Factory Kitchen is an initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska as part of the school meals reform, which was planned before the russian invasion. The project was sponsored by American businessman and philanthropist Howard Buffett. The Factory Kitchen in Bucha, which began operations on 11 March 2024, is a pilot project that is already being rolled out to other regions of Ukraine. Construction of the second factory kitchen has already begun in the Lozova community of Kharkiv region. One such factory kitchen can provide food for several dozen educational institutions (currently, there is a network of 13,000 schools and 9,000 preschools in Ukraine).