President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska: Despite the hostile invasion, we must provide children with the best – from education to nutrition

31 October 2023 - 15:23

Olena Zelenska: Despite the hostile invasion, we must provide children with the best – from education to nutrition

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has approved the Strategy for reforming the school food system for 2023-2027. The school nutrition reform was initiated in 2020 by First Lady Olena Zelenska. In the same year, the government adopted a resolution on the action plan for the school meals system reform.

Work on the Strategy began in the winter of 2023, and by the end of February, the document was sent for consideration to the Cabinet of Ministers, which approved it on October 27.

The approval of the Strategy is one of the most important steps in the process of changing the organization of meals in educational institutions and ensuring that children have quality and nutritious food. In the coming years, it is expected to serve as a roadmap for the implementation of the reform for all its participants – from central executive authorities to representatives of local self-government bodies. Based on this document, communities can develop regional strategies for implementing changes at the local level.

"Despite the hostile invasion, we must provide children with the best – from education to nutrition. I'll even go further: all of this, during the trials of wartime, should be of even higher quality, because resilience is formed from this. That's why the reform of school nutrition, initiated in 2020, continues. Like everything we do during the war, the reform has gained even more, one might say, worldview significance: it has united the whole country, hundreds of adults, and nutrition experts in the desire to create the best conditions, opportunities, and belief in a better tomorrow for young Ukrainians, who are growing up in such challenging times," said the initiator of the reform, Olena Zelenska.

The approved document is based on a series of legal acts, including the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine "On Education," the Presidential Decree on the "National Strategy for Building a Safe and Healthy Educational Environment in the New Ukrainian School" dated May 25, 2020, the Concept for the Implementation of State Policy in the Reform of General Secondary Education "New Ukrainian School," and other legislative acts.

The document outlines the action plan for the years 2023-2024, the priority directions of work until 2027, and operational tasks. It specifically focuses on four strategic goals of the reform:

1. Increasing the financial and institutional capacity of communities.

2. Restoring and modernizing kitchens and cafeterias while adhering to HACCP safety requirements.

3. Developing the skills and qualifications of educational institution cooks and implementing new nutrition standards and menus.

4. Promoting a culture of healthy eating in Ukraine.

The main goal of implementing these strategic reform tasks is to ensure diverse, balanced, and high-quality food in educational institutions, promote social protection for vulnerable population groups, and instill healthy eating habits in children and adults.

"The last point can be called the main, overarching goal of our entire endeavor. Just as life's journey begins at school, so do eating habits start in the school cafeteria. We would like these habits to be correct and healthy, spreading from children to their families and ultimately to the whole society. We want everyone to say about their menu, even after years: 'Delicious and healthy, just like in school!' Our children will receive everything they need to become winners," Olena Zelenska concluded.