The United Nations World Food Program is leveraging a blockchain technology startup to track school lunches in Tunisia, so that each child is fed.
Through this three-way partnership, the initial roll out will feed 1,500 primary school kids, with the goal of ultimately rolling out to the scheme to all 400,000 Tunisian school children currently receiving food assistance.
“This project is allowing us to explore how supporting innovation, through the introduction of solutions based on blockchain technology, can contribute to strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the Tunisian national school meals program,” said UN World Food Program representative Maria Lukyanova, who is also represents the Head of Country Office for the Republic of Tunisia.
The Tunisian government operates a school meal program designed to offer one fresh meal a day to underprivileged students in its primary and secondary educational system.
The meal program currently serves approximately 6,000 schools. In recognizing the importance of nutrition as part of a broader goal to ensure and improve educational achievements, the Ministry of Education’s program is aimed to ensure that children from underprivileged backgrounds meet their nutritional requirements.
The program is currently managed by the United Nation’s World Food Program to ensure that the program is implemented appropriately and the schools have adequate supply of meals for the students that require them. In achieving these goals, the ability to track the delivery of the meals as well as possible aspects on best utilization of funds are key measures of success for the program.
Devery was tapped to provide the technical advisory and development capability to build, train and utilize a transparent and more accountable system of tracking the meal deliveries as well as reporting issues direct to the Ministry in real time.
“Blockchain technology has the potential to impact billions of people through bridging the gap between the physical and digital world. Ensuring the safe delivery of the food to children via blockchain technology is a cause we truly believe will impact the lives of many to come,” said Devery CEO and Founder Andrew Rasheed.
Devery will train personnel on the ground to utilize and maintain the technology for the foreseeable future.
With the blockchain startup’s commercial technology, “Consumers now have the ability to ensure the item they have purchased online is legitimate before it is posted. This removes the traditional problem of having to trust retailers online to provide legitimate items as the consumer can check an item’s validity using the Devery platform before purchase,” according to the Devery website.
In 2014, the World Food Program and the Government of the Tunisian Republic represented by the Ministry of Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding marking the beginning of this partnership after an initial request from the government.
“It is important to stress that providing sufficient nutrition to all schoolchildren in Tunisia is not a luxury. Rather it is a necessity towards nurturing a healthy new generation of citizens who will be at the heart of building the country’s future,” said Carlo Scaramella, WFP Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and Northern Africa, at the time of the signing.
The partnership with Devery is the next step in assuring that all schoolchildren in Tunisia get properly fed.
According to the World Food Program in 2015, “For thousands of families in Tunisia, school meals are at the heart of the matter. There are approximately 2,500 canteens struggling to cater to the needs of 240,000 pupils who receive a daily meal 120 days of the year. This target group is a significant part of the country’s 1 million primary school students. In its effort to provide adequate school meals, the state has called upon the technical support of the United Nations World Food Program.”
The World Food Program is the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies, and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
It assists 80 million people in around 80 countries each year, and on any given day, the program has 5,000 trucks, 20 ships and 92 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those in most need.
Each year, it distributes approximately 12.6 billion rations at an estimated average cost per ration of US$ 0.31.
Devery is a leading global blockchain startup that provides comprehensive product verification services. The company provides software that abstracts the difficulties of blockchain development by providing easy-to-use tools and applications to clients.
The World Food Program expects to use the technology developed for this program to assist with the delivery of food in other missions around the world.
The UN agency has more than a half a century of a experience in providing school meals and work closely with national governments, delivering valuable technical support in order to strengthen the national school feeding programme.