Food provision in schools in low and middle income countries: developing an evidenced based programme framework

Food provision in schools in low and middle income countries: developing an evidenced based programme framework

This paper aims to develop an evidence based rationale for school feeding programmes. The paper clarifies that school feeding is a popular programme that has been used to support the education, health and nutrition of children living in vulnerable food-insecure areas. However, it is a complex intervention that requires an evidence base in order to allows careful trade-offs among targeting approaches, feeding modalities, and costs.

The document finds that:

  • school feeding programs can help to get children into school and help to keep them there through enhancing enrolment and reducing absenteeism
  • once the children are in school, the programs can contribute to their learning, through avoiding hunger and enhancing cognitive abilities
  • these effects may be potentiated by complementary actions, especially deworming and providing micronutrients

The paper underlines that the design of the school feeding intervention has considerable implications across the supply chain in terms of specifying the quality and quantity of the demand for food from school feeding. Consequently, policy makers and implementers can benefit from careful examination of the context, and trade trade-offs associated with the different design options of school feeding.

In the final analysis, the author highlights that building the evidence base on the agricultural and community level benefits of school feeding, as well as tackling the issue of cost-effectiveness and metrics, are important areas of future research.