The United States Government, through its Department of Agriculture (USDA), has formalized a partnership with the National Institute for Student Welfare (INABIE) to provide technical assistance to integrate nutrient-rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables into the School Feeding Program (PAE).
With the support of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), this initiative seeks to promote a technical exchange of knowledge and experiences to deepen the nutritional aspects of the school meals implemented by the Dominican Republic.
The first phase of the cooperation consists of a technical mission made up of a team of food security and nutrition specialists from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, who will be in the Dominican Republic during the week of September 26-29, to work closely with INABIE authorities and technicians and identify key actions to achieve significant improvements in school feeding.
The mission was received by the Executive Director of INABIE, Victor Castro, who, during the welcoming ceremony, highlighted the interest expressed by USDA and IICA since last July to support INABIE in these issues, especially because of the extensive technical experience of USDA, through its Food and Nutrition Service, in the area of food and nutrition security.
“We are excited to work with this team of experts on this crucial initiative to further improve school nutrition in the Dominican Republic,” said Castro.
For his part, Fred Giles, agricultural counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, emphasized that “this effort is a direct response from the U.S. Government to the Dominican Government’s request to work on strengthening nutrition education, within the framework of the joint action plan that was agreed upon in the food security working group formed by the United States, the Dominican Republic and CARICOM, following the Summit of the Americas held last year.”
What will the delegation do?
The mission will include visits to educational centers in rural and urban areas to learn about the implementation of the PAE from the preparation of food in a supplier’s kitchen to its distribution and tasting, also including the Environmentally Sustainable Schools and 3Rs (Reuse, Recycle, Reduce) Culture program, which is implemented by INABIE in educational centers, and school gardens.
Special attention will be paid to the identification of foods rich in essential nutrients, as well as the development of balanced daily menus with the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables, which INABIE has been implementing in order to provide students with the nutrients necessary for optimal development and promote healthier eating habits.
This collaboration reflects INABIE’s commitment to provide Dominican students with the necessary tools for a healthy and successful future. Its results will be reflected in a significant improvement in the quality of nutrition in the educational community.
The opening ceremony of the mission was attended by officials from the areas of Nutritional Formulation and Evaluation, Planning and Development, Food Management, Human Resources, Administration, Health and Social Services, International Cooperation, among other areas of INABIE.
Also, authorities from governmental and international cooperation institutions that collaborate with INABIE in the implementation of the PAE, among them: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development, Ministry of Public Health, Supérate Program, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP).