Hayel Saeed Anam (HSA) Group, Yemen’s largest private company, and packaging manufacturer Tetra Pak have begun their collaborative school milk initiative in Yemen, which was announced in May 2023 at a joint food security workshop co-hosted by HSA Group and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), entitled “Rethinking food crisis responses: the power of partnership to build resilient food systems in Yemen.”
Commenced on 20 November 2023, the pilot initiative will provide fortified flavoured milk for 10,000 children in Yemen once a day on school days, seeking to improve the nutritional intake and the health of pupils whilst incentivising school attendance. The pilot will target an estimated 20 schools in the Taiz governorate.
Under the scope of the initiative:
- HSA Group is producing UHT milk in local facilities which is fortified with micronutrients and vitamins based on local nutritional deficiencies.
- Tetra Pak is supplying Tetra Brik Aseptic® 125 packaging, ensuring that the product remains fresh for up to 12 months and thus maximising the distribution time window. As a result, the impact of transport challenges, which are common in Yemen due to damaged infrastructure, will be reduced.
- HSA Group’s Humanitarian Development Program (HDP) will manage the distribution of milk to schools and coordinate with relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Education and the United Nations’ nutrition cluster, administered by UNICEF and the WFP.
- HDP will also liaise with schools on storage needs and food safety, engage communities through awareness campaigns, and oversee the monitoring and evaluation of the project.
- Schools are also using this initiative to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. Children will be taught about the impact of waste on the environment and how waste can be managed sustainably.
- The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is conducting an impact assessment study to understand the impact of the initiative on the educational and health outcomes of children.
HSA Group and Tetra Pak have been partners for over 20 years and share a passionate commitment to the wellbeing of the Yemeni people. The initiative will be Tetra Pak’s first school milk initiative in Yemen.
Looking ahead, HSA Group and Tetra Pak will continue to ensure access to safe nutrition for Yemeni children as well as improve the food value chain in Yemen by increasing opportunities for small-holder farmers to develop their businesses, earn income and improve their livelihoods. Phase two of this initiative will involve innovating to create affordable nutritious, dairy and cereal-based beverage formulations for school feeding programmes across Yemen.
By leveraging their combined product development and manufacturing capabilities, HSA Group and Tetra Pak are driving forward the production of new affordable and nutritious products for schoolchildren in need.
Hisham Ali Mohamed Saeed, deputy managing director for the FMCG Strategic Business Unit at HSA Yemen said: “Yemen’s young people are disproportionately affected by the ongoing food security crisis in the country, with more than 2.2 million Yemeni children currently suffering from acute malnutrition.
“We are proud to support this transformative project which aims to alleviate the burden of these challenges on young people, supporting them as they grow both physically and intellectually. This initiative also has the potential to improve the income and livelihoods of small-scale dairy farmers, including local producers in the supply chain while alleviating malnutrition for vulnerable populations.
It is our hope that, in partnership with Tetra Pak, we can support the health and wellbeing of Yemen’s young and ambitious population, nurturing talent and unlocking potential.”
Niels Hougaard, managing director at Tetra Pak Arabia, said: “We are honoured to partner with HSA Group on this initiative, which has the potential to make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of Yemeni children. At Tetra Pak, we believe in the power of collaboration to build resilient food systems, and this school milk program is a prime example of what can be achieved when stakeholders work together towards a common goal.”