School meals for refugee integration

10 Jul 2019

We have been supporting WFP’s school meals initiative in Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Burundi since 2014. We recently committed to an original initiative in Jordan, called “Healthy Kitchens”.

The Healthy Kitchen

We have been supporting the World Food Programme’s school meals initiative  in Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Burundi since 2014. We recently committed to another innovative school meal programme by WFP in Jordan.

The country is home to more than 660,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees. To address the multiple challenges of a protracted crisis, WFP in collaboration with its partner, the Royal Health Awareness Society, has set up an original initiative called “Healthy Kitchens”. The “Healthy Kitchens” ensure Jordanian and Syrian schoolchildren receive the freshly-prepared meals they need to concentrate and learn, encouraging them to go to school. The initiative also provides employment for the Syrian and Jordanian adults - 60% of them are women - who prepare, bake and pack the school meals. “Healthy Kitchens” thus help refugees integrate into new communities through culturally-appropriate work and social support networks. By distributing locally-sourced meals, the programme also strengthens local food production, processing and transport, which stimulates local economic growth.

(Appearing in the group photo, from left to right: Christophe Massoni, Managing Director of Cartier Middle East and Africa, Hanin Odeh, Director General, Royal Health Awareness Society, Sarah Gordon-Gibbson, Country Director WFP Jordan, HM Queen Rania of Jordan, Pascale de la Frégonnière, Director Cartier Pilanthropy and Sarah Borchers, WFP Head of private sector partnership Europe.)

Over the next three years we will support the operations of one “Healthy Kitchen” that provides school meals to 6,000 children every day and supports 30 Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian women and men to gain skills, access employment and play a greater role in their community.

Healthy Kitchens thus become a concrete way to help women refugees resettle and integrate into new communities, empowering them not only to restart their lives in a foreign place, but also to learn valuable skills and find dignified work.

Harnessing technology to assist refugees

WFP has global experience in digitising cash delivery systems through innovative technologies. Some of these solutions are being successfully tested in Jordan to support vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian refugee communities.

Iris-Scan: To allow Syrian refugees to purchase food from camp supermarkets, WFP has introduced an iris scan payment system called EyePay. Biometric iris scanners positioned at supermarket checkout counters allow refugees to purchase food without exchanging cash. The eye-recognition devices verify the identity of refugees, enabling WFP to deduct the required amount from their aid allowance.

E-cards: Electronic food vouchers, or “e-cards” are similar to debit cards and can be used to purchase fresh dairy produce and meat from participating markets or supermarkets. For refugees who have traditionally received food in distribution lines, receiving assistance through  cash-based systems means the freedom to choose food and produce that connect families to cultural identities. This approach supports local economies, expands dietary diversity and restores dignity and choice for families.

Blockchain: Blockchain is a digital ledger technology which tracks the ownership of assets without a central authority, speeding up transaction times while lowering the chance of fraud or data mismanagement. WFP uses this technology to facilitate humanitarian assistance to over 110,000 Syrian refugees in Azraq and Za’atari camps.