Ukraine To Create Information Portal on School Feeding Reform as Part of Olena Zelenska Initiative
As part of an initiative by First Lady Olena Zelenska to modernize the school feeding system, an information portal will be created containing key information, training materials and tips on reform.
The main objective of the platform is to update managers, teachers and parents about changes in the nutrition system and best practices in the organization of school feeding.
“Having communicated with educators and received feedback from parents, we identified a need for a unified platform that will contain all the key information about the reform and can be used by both educators and parents. We plan to launch the basic version of the portal this summer,” said the First Lady.
According to the President’s wife, the portal’s sections will include a recommended menu for schools and recipes, a separate section on nutrition for children with special dietary needs and video tips on various topics, including modern school feeding, implementation of the hazard analysis and control at critical points (HACCP) system and procurement. In addition, it is planned that the online platform will assist with the gathering of useful information on healthy eating, the role of a varied diet and the risks of unhealthy eating and obesity.
“This website could become a major platform for school nutrition reform and healthy eating communications across the country. Since shaping behaviour is a long-term process, we are now beginning with a change in perception and awareness. UNICEF, together with IT company SoftServe, is supporting the creation of this important resource, which will promote the development of healthy eating habits in children and parents,” said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Lotta Sylwander.
The Ministry of Education and Science (MES), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, the State Food and Consumer Service, experts in support of MES reforms, the Centre for Public Health of Ukraine, the Swiss-Ukrainian Acting for Health project, the Association of Nutritionists of Ukraine and the Yevhen Klopotenko team are involved in the website development.
Content and technical expertise for the project will also be provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Swiss-Ukrainian DECIDE project. The technology partner – SoftServe – is tasked with creating the online platform.
“Development of a unified platform will enable dissemination of information on the reform of the school feeding system, and also promote awareness of cultural issues and basic principles of healthy eating. The initiative to create a platform is very important, because it will enable feedback to be provided to staff responsible for feeding in general secondary schools,” highlighted Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhii Shkarlet.
The reform of the system of school feeding was launched in 2019 on the initiative of Olena Zelenska. In 2020, the focus was on amending laws and regulations. In particular, updated sanitary regulations and new hygienic requirements for producing and serving food products in general secondary schools were approved, and guidelines were developed for procurement and use of the HACCP system. In addition, in 2020, a state subvention was allocated for the first time to procure equipment and upgrade food units in 1,908 schools.
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