After extensive collection of background information on Serbian primary schools and well over 80 school visits since the start of Strength2Food, an initial list of 30 schools has been selected and formally notified by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development on 24th January, 2018. These schools represent the four regions of Serbia selected for study: Belgrade city, Novi Sad, a large area around Mionica – Bajina Basta – Loznica, and Arile – Ivanjica.

Each school has been asked to provide a coordinator for the project, with whom Strength2Food researchers will work closely, and schools have been informed of activities for school directors and administrators, teachers and kitchen staff. Amongst them is a request to look at and give feedback on a web site currently in preparation by Strength2Food staff from MPN, with input from BEL and EUTA (BSN), specifically designed in Serbian for primary schools, and all their stakeholders.

EUTA team members discussing menus, food deliveries and the challenges of persuading children to eat good quality food in school with kitchen staff at a Loznica primary school.

As well as educational materials provided by EUFIC, BARILLA and ZAG, which are being translated where necessary into Serbian, we are currently collecting documents from Serbian institutions that specifically target children’s eating habits and suggestions on how they can be improved. We are also collecting menus that school cooks can use to help them plan more nutritionally-balanced meals for their children. We expect the new web site will go live in mid-February. These 30 schools were specifically referred to in another TV interview with EUTA’s Ratko Bojovic, broadcast on RTS 1’s prime time programme Beogradska Hronika (Belgrade Chronicle) on Thursday, 25th January.

So, we are now ready to start working closely with these 30 schools to help them with procurement criteria to improve the quality of the food delivered, to work with teachers to improve nutritional awareness of the children and their parents, and to work with cooks to improve where possible the nutritional balance of school meals and make them more appetising for children.

Lunches waiting for children in a Belgrade school.                                                    A Belgrade school tuck shop.

Steve Quarrie
EUTA, Belgrade