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WFP Bhutan Country Brief, December 2019

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WFP, along with high level government officials, took part in the Global Child Nutrition Forum (GCNF) in Cambodia. This forum consolidated partnerships with various country representatives and helped convey a greater understanding of WFP’s role in school feeding and addressing malnutrition.

WFP has contracted a company to develop a social and behaviour change communication strategy for improved dietary and health practices among Bhutan’s 6-18-year-old school students.

WFP hosted a workshop on emergency telecommunications to improve understanding of telecommunications’ important role in preparedness and response.

Operational Updates

• WFP supported the participation of Government officials in the 21st Global Child Nutrition Forum (GCNF) in Siem Reap, Cambodia from December 2-6, 2019. The Minister of Education, accompanied by eight officials from various government agencies and WFP, participated in the forum. The Minister of Education met with the Cambodian Education Minister and had a fruitful discussion on possible ways to learn from one another’s experience in school nutrition and feeding programmes. The Minister also met with the WFP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and shared Bhutan’s plans and strategies for addressing issues related to school nutrition. The forum provided opportunities for the Bhutanese government officials to gain a broader understanding of the significance of school feeding programmes globally and their role in addressing malnutrition and improving educational outcomes for children. It also helped them to appreciate WFP’s role in school nutrition and feeding in Bhutan, paving the way for a smoother collaboration in the future. The officials also had several side meetings with representatives from selected countries to learn how the school feeding programme is being implemented in their countries.

• WFP is taking a social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) approach to support the Government in promoting healthy eating practices among school students. As part of this approach, WFP is contracting a company to develop a baseline report,
SBCC strategy, as well as a monitoring and evaluation plan and impact study design. These initiatives aim to not only promote healthy eating practices, but also to create long-term demand for local, fresh and nutritious food.

• WFP facilitated an Emergency Telecommunications workshop in partnership with the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, which saw the participation of 45 stakeholders from government agencies, international development partners and private sectors. This workshop focused on operational requirements for major disaster response, to ensure enhanced and uninterrupted emergency telecommunications during emergencies. Participants engaged in a discussion on how to enhance disaster response, as well as their needs and strategies in the response. Based on the workshop, an Emergency Telecommunication Preparedness and Response Action Plan on Emergency Communications will be developed for Bhutan.

• WFP, in collaboration with School Health and Nutrition Division, Ministry of Education, conducted a review of the school monitoring and reporting system. During this review, which marked a year of implementation, WFP received feedback from counterparts. The Ministry also decided to mainstream the system into their Education Management Information System (EMIS), which will be a one-stop data centre for all education-related statistics. In 2020, WFP will support the Ministry in integrating the module into EMIS.

• In support of establishing the 72 Hours Needs Assessment Approach, WFP representatives from the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific conducted a mission in Bhutan. During this mission, they coordinated with Geographic Information System (GIS) officers from various government sectors and trained them on the geographic preparedness, data availability, data cleaning and data linking between relevant stakeholders. The mission helped to create the overall list of data needed for key indicators and identified data gaps. This included converting existing data formats into the geographic structure so that the data set is ready for use during disaster.
The mission also evaluated capacity in key government sectors in terms of people, hardware, software and proposed spatial data infrastructure setup plans and options.