An October conference organized by FAR in Tavush Province highlighted the progress we’ve made in combating childhood malnutrition. The conference brought together representatives from health care centers, Tavush’s health department, NGOs and international organizations, kindergarten principals and community leaders to discuss how important good nutrition is for each child’s development, as well as for the economy and public health.

The problems of child malnutrition and its consequences on cognitive development have been at FAR’s center of attention since 2011. In 2013, when FAR launched its Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP), one of its major objectives was to improve the nutrition and overall health of preschool-aged children through targeted activities.

FAR representatives presented on BCPP’s health component—its results and its prospects. Health and Social Programs Officer Vahe Krmoyan reported that seven kindergartens in the Berd Region of Tavush Province have been repaired or partially repaired through BCPP; five maternity training rooms have been established and equipped; and 16 kindergartens are now implementing a balanced food program that ensures every kindergartner receives a nutritious meal.

Valya Apresyan, coordinator of FAR ‘s Berd office, added that BCCP has also managed to shift attitudes in the region, another long-term goal of the project. “Mothers do not panic when there is a health issue. Mothers are taking their children to medical exams on time. More, they ask for recipes from the kindergartens because their children want to be served the same salads and soups they get at school at home.”

FAR’s Health Programs Director Dr. Hambardzum Simonyan informed participants that BCPP will continue for another five years and will be expanded to include villages outside of the Berd Region as well. “We are trying to make sure that the models we have invested in during the project continue after BCPP’s completion so that community leaders ensure their children receive balanced meals at kindergarten. We want to make sure that the cooperation between parents and village health care providers continues.”