While regularly eating fresh fruits is recognized as having amazing effects on health, such practice is not usual for kids in Moldova. Currently, the average kid’s consumption of fresh fruits is about 60% of the minimum WHO recommended quantity.
Confronted by such a challenge, a small enthusiastic United Nations Development Programme Moldova team invested time and expertise in launching an experiment to increase fresh fruit consumption in public schools by connecting the private sector to school principals and kids.
The results of the efforts are more than encouraging. Throughout an entire academic year, more than 3,500 kids in public schools and kindergartens had a fresh-cut apple twice a week. That was due to the support of a dozen private companies and enthusiastic individuals who donated cash for the project, as well as the support Jamie Oliver.
The same small team in UNDP had a dream of multiplying the experiment to reach more kids, in fact all kids from public educational institutions. Expanding the experiment seemed impossible, not only because it was costly, but because establishing a national distribution and promotion scheme requires much more than a team of enthusiasts. But they had an idea; to appeal to the government to introduce a national programme of fresh fruits promotion and consumption in public schools.
Recently, the Government together with the National Association of Fruit Producers and UNDP Moldova joined forces to achieve this, 350,000 kids are now involved in this programme. The programme is focused not only on acquisition and distribution of the fresh produce, but also on information and promotion of healthier diets and increased consumption of fresh fruits in public schools and kindergartens.