Ref. Ares(2018)3604862 - 06/07/2018
Ref. Ares(2018)4147635 - 07/08/2018
Monthly Update on Milk for WFP Syria’s School Meal Programme
Since August 2014, WFP Syria, in cooperation with UNICEF and the Syrian Ministry of
Education, has been implementing a school meals programme aimed at encouraging
enrolment and regular attendance among pre-primary and primary school children in Syria.
Initially providing fortified date bars only, thanks to a generous contribution from the
European Commission, starting in the 2016-17 school year, WFP introduced UHT milk of
European Union origin as part of the nutritious snacks provided to children.
Due to operational challenges linked to the nature of the commodity as well as the
challenging context in Syria, WFP maintains the possibility of reallocating part of the milk
quantities to the General Food Assistance (GFA) programme as a contingency measure. Implementation to date
Arrival of milk shipments
WFP procured some 19,500 mt of milk for the 2017-18 academic year. The first batches of
milk started arriving in Syria on 5 November. As of the end of December 2017, a total of
3,271.92 mt of milk have arrived in country. All of the quantities received have a packaging
size of 200 ml.
In January 2018, additional shipments of 5,196.142 mt of milk are expected to arrive at the
Syrian ports. The clearance for these shipments is expected to be received in February,
subject to positive lab test results.
Milk Shipments, December 2017
Milk received in country
Milk expected in January
Dispatches to schools
In December, WFP received clearance for a total of 1,117.924 mt of milk following the
issuance of positive lab test results for these quantities. These cleared quantities were among
the first shipments that had arrived at Syrian ports in early November, which were initially
expected to be cleared by end of November or early December. However, due to lengthy
clearance procedures (see below section on Challenges), clearance for dispatch started to be
obtained only in mid-December, when only small quantities of milk received the green light.
However, it should be noted that the large majority of the quantities was cleared only in the
last days of December, hindering the ability to dispatch all quantities during the same
month. In light of these challenges, WFP could only dispatch 166.644 mt of milk to schools
in Aleppo, Damascus, Rural Damascus, and Dar’a governorates in December. Dispatches of
the remaining cleared quantities have resumed on 06 January 2018 and will be absorbed
through January plan.
The 166.644 mt of milk dispatched to schools in Aleppo, Damascus, Rural Damascus, and
Dar’a governorates are estimated to benefit some 21,288 school children. This is calculated
based on a daily ration per child of 400 ml of milk (two packs of 200 ml). Upon the receipt of
the milk in schools, the distribution to school children was initiated by the school principals.
Distribution reports will be shared by the Ministry of Education once finalised.
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Milk Dispatches, December 2017
Quantity of milk dispatched in December
Number of children benefitting from the
dispatched milk in December
Cumulative quantity dispatched since the
beginning of the 2017-18 school year
Due to the cumulative effect of delays caused by several factors including delays in the
procurement process and administrative procedures, as outlined in detail in previous
updates – milk deliveries and distributions could not be implemented at planned scale to
date. While maintaining the existing plan to prioritise distributions of available milk
quantities, WFP foresees that some quantities will need to be reallocated to the General Food
Assistance (GFA), in order to absorb all the available and incoming quantities ahead of their
Best Before Date (BDD) and to avoid any commodity losses.
WFP is developing a contingency plan based on several factors, including operational and
logistics considerations, school absorption capacity in the various geographical areas and
BDD dates, in order to conduct necessary reallocations in a timely and systematic manner.
The reallocated quantities will be distributed to vulnerable households already targeted
through GFA. The plan is currently being prepared, and the first reallocations are expected
to take place end of February or early March. Additional details will be shared in the
upcoming updates. Challenges
Following initial challenges with the procurement process (see October update for details)
and a resulting late arrival of the first batches of milk in Syria, delays are now being
experienced in the clearance of shipments that have already arrived in country.
The delays are mainly linked to the legalization process of the milk shipments, requested by
the Syrian authorities. This process requires the receipt of original shipping documents,
which have to be signed by several countries and consulates. In addition, further delays are
experienced inside Syria where the shipping documents need to go through several
government institutions, including the Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. WFP only receives clearance of the milk shipments once the legalization process is
finalised, which poses additional challenges for the timely dispatch and distribution of the
milk to beneficiaries. Accordingly, WFP has extended a request for an accelerated procedure
(a waiver) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has underlined the importance of a swift
release and dispatch of the sensitive milk commodity in a meeting with the Ministry of
Education on the topic.
WFP received the verbal approval for the waiver on 08 January 2017, and is expecting the
written approval by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This allows WFP to dispatch the milk
directly after receipt of the positive lab test results (the lab test takes on average 21 days) and
before the original shipping documents arrive in Syria. At the same time, WFP commits to
submit the original shipping documents within a period of one month upon receipt of the
positive lab results.
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