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KUPANG, NUSA TENGGARA TIMUR, INDONESIA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Kupang District Government and the Family Empowerment and Welfare Movement (Pemberdayaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga or PKK Kupang) are celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day on 17 August with the launch of the first cooking competition for school meals made with local ingredients. The competition aims to promote dietary diversity and highlight ways of making school meals more nourishing through sourcing locally-available ingredients.
"This is an exciting event to showcase the involvement of people from the local community in the provision of nutritious foods made from local ingredients in our school meals programme. We hope this event can boost public awareness on the importance of having a diverse and nutritious food in our daily intake," said Peter Guest, Acting Country Director for WFP Indonesia.
A total of 21 cooking groups are taking part, both from schools where WFP runs school meals programmes and from other schools in the Kupang district. Cooking groups are made up of representatives of students' parents - usually mothers - who have received nutrition and hygiene training for the preparation of school meals.
In the school meals programmes implemented by WFP, in collaboration with local government and involving local communities, more than 7,600 elementary students in Kupang and Timor Tengah Selatan districts receive a nutritious hot snack three times a week. WFP provides maize and mung beans, while communities contribute local ingredients such as coconut milk, cassava, banana and cinnamon.
"We need to encourage people to start diversifying their diets and including our various local ingredients to create nutritious and delicious meals for family consumption," said Detty Rosita, Assistant Deputy Minister for Women's Quality of Life and Child Welfare, Coordinating Ministry for Social Welfare . "More people need to be aware of the variety of nutritious foods which are beneficial for their health and wellbeing."
Judges of the competition are representatives from WFP, PKK, Kupang Health Office, Food Security Office, and District Agriculture Office Kupang district, Provincial Agency of Food and Drugs Control in Kupang (BPOM Province), and Poltekkes Gizi (nutrition academy in Kupang). Dishes will be judged on five criteria: hygiene; food safety; diversity; taste and appearance; and nutritional value. WFP will compile and distribute the recipes to all communities.
"We want to create an event that is not only entertaining, but also sending an important message as part of Indonesia's Independence Day celebration. We believe the cooking competition will increase public awareness on nutrition, food safety and hygiene, and dietary diversification. Therefore we welcome WFP's initiative to hold this event," said Ayub Titu Eki, Head of Kupang district in NTT.
School meals programmes using local foods have been running in NTT province for more than two years. Research by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has shown these programmes to be an effective and cost-efficient model to tackle short-term hunger, increase school attendance and improve concentration levels of students. The programme also serves to improve the knowledge and practice of good health and hygiene habits among children and their communities.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
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