President’s wife Olena Zelenska and UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Lotta Sylwander had a working meeting, in the course of which the UNICEF representatives shared their vast experience of work aimed to improve the lives of the children in the world. The parties agreed to expand cooperation in Ukraine and discussed further steps on the introduction of healthy school meal programs.
The UNICEF Office in Ukraine has already joined the development of the National Strategy for Building a Safe and Healthy Education Environment. The specialists of the organization are also involved in determining the criteria and forming a questionnaire, which is used during the commission examination of educational institutions.
“UNICEF has a vast expertise and ample opportunity to involve the best global experience in the implementation of such programs. Therefore, cooperation with an organization that advocates the rights of children around the world is a natural step,” Olena Zelenska commented.
UNICEF representatives shared with the First Lady the experience of other countries in reforming the school nutrition system, presented projects that have already been implemented and told about the development of programs based on data analysis. International experience confirms that, depending on the direction chosen, changes in the school nutrition system can have a positive impact not only on the health of children, but also on such aspects as academic achievements, mental capacity, and even help combat child poverty.
“The main thing in implementing such a large-scale program is synergy. Partnership and joint advocacy, as well as involving the widest range of partners, are prerequisites for rapid and high-quality change,” Lotta Sylwander noted.
The next joint steps include UNICEF's involvement in the analysis of data retrieved from the ongoing commission examination of schools. In addition, the organization's experts will be permanently involved in the working group that submits practical instructions for the implementation of the National Strategy for Building a Safe and Healthy Education Environment. The parties are also planning to formalize their partnership and sign a memorandum of cooperation in the near future.