One of the most important objectives of our Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP)* is to ensure a better future for Armenia’s children, and BCPP’s malnutrition reduction component is one of the mechanisms FAR uses to reach this goal. It ensures all children at 15 of the kindergartens in Tavush Province receive free and nutritious meals, which contain the essential amount of daily vitamins and minerals.

When BCPP started in 2013, a clinical investigation among children aged six months to six years revealed that the poor health of many was mainly due to malnutrition. A balanced nutrition program was developed to combat that.

Moreover, the co-funding provided through our Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP)* powered the project implementation thus contributing to the increase in the number of both the kindergartens (from 10 communities to 15) and the children who receive balanced food – from 340 in 2015 to 557 in 2016.

Currently 557 children, ages two to six, in 15 kindergartens receive balanced food in accordance with the summer and winter menus approved by nutritionists at Armenia’s Ministry of Health. In 3.5 years, Chinchin, Choratan, and Aygedzor kindergartens have been renovated. Necessary supplies have also been provided to kitchens in the kindergartens of Movses, Aygepar, Chinari, Novur, Artsvaberd, Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, Chinchin, Itsakar, Aygedzor, Varagavan to ensure safe and clean cooking.

“We not only provide meals but we have also improved kitchen conditions. We also provided necessary equipment, and trained the kitchen staff – and this has served to increase trust toward kindergartens and encouraged more families to send their children to kindergartens,” said Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan, FAR’s Health Programs Manager. “This component proved to be very effective as the health conditions of children improved shortly after we started it. It is also very important part of the BCPP’s health component.”

FAR has just finished another study to find out the impact of BCPP’s intervention. “Through our baseline study and follow-up evaluation, we can say that our efforts have paid off,” said Dr. Simonyan. “It’s again thanks to the quantitative and qualitative food balance, as well as awareness among parents, foster families, and community healthcare specialists with whom we have been working within the scope of the program.”

A multi-sectorial program started in the Tavush Region of Armenia in 2013, BCPP addresses the poverty-related problems of the population and works to combat children’s malnutrition. The program aims to address the roots of the issues that make people poor in order to break the cycle and culture of poverty that has become endemic in parts of Armenia. The inception of BCPP became a starting point for a renewed approach FAR has taken to support business and economic activities of the Armenian people.

*Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) is a multidimensional FAR project addressing child poverty in the region of Tavush, sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation.
*The Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP) is a FAR project sponsored by the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).