FAR’s nutrition program for preschool children, part of our Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP), was replicated in two more kindergartens starting this school year, ultimately bringing healthy lunch options to 100 additional children.

Named Breakthroughs in Child Nutrition and Development for Healthy Generations, the new project offshoot provides nutritious meals for 45 kids from Tsaghkahovit and 55 kids from Norashen community kindergartens in Aragatsotn Province.

“It’s important to set good eating habits not only for developing the children’s tastes for good food but also for cultivating a culture of healthy eaters. More and more, current meal plans emphasize food diversity that will provide enough calories for kids and develop their tastes,” explained nutritionist Lilit Gabrielyan of Armenia’s Health and Labor Inspectorate during a recent meeting with the staff of both kindergartens. The main goal is to give children the information needed to learn how to make balanced choices from the food groups that have been selected by FAR and will be offered to them each day, she said.

Tamara Mathevosyan, principal of Norashen Kindergarten, said that the training had even reinforced some of that knowledge for the teachers, all of whom already know something about proper nutrition. “We have never had any such training before. No one but FAR has ever approached us. This is a great opportunity to get our kindergarten cooks and teachers also into the habit of making proper food choices,” she remarked.

Another training held at the Tsaghkahovit Medical Center brought together about 25 doctors and nurses from nearby communities to discuss urgent health topics, including breastfeeding, children’s care and nutrition, the causes of anemia and undernutrition, children’s vaccination, etc.

According to pediatrician Dr. Susanna Harutyunyan of Yerevan’s Muratsan Medical Center, all of the healthcare service providers were interested in the topics but will need more long-term courses to learn and digest the information in detail.

Breakthroughs in Child Nutrition will expand its activities during 2019 to help rural kindergartens serve healthy meals and offer nutritional trainings and lectures for parents in additional villages.