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WFP School Feeding Programmes

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Rome, 5 March 2019 - In 2017, the World Food Programme implemented or supported school feeding programmes for 18.3 million children in 71 countries and built the capacity of 65 governments, resulting in improved national school feeding programmes for a further 39 million children.

WFP School Feeding Programmes
WFP School Feeding Programmes© WFP

Every day countless children all over the world come to school on an empty stomach, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their lessons. Many of them don't even go to school because their families need them to help in the fields or at home.

For the children, eating daily at school can mean not only better nutrition and health, but also better access to and better performance in education. It is also a strong incentive for parents to consistently send their children to school.

The details of the program vary between providing breakfast or lunch or both. Some programs offer complete meals, while others offer enriched, high-energy biscuits or nutritious snacks such as dates.

Food and/or cash rations are given to families as an incentive to keep children in school on the condition that they attend regularly.

Food is procured locally where possible. In 46 countries, school feeding programmes are linked to local smallholder production, combining nutritional and educational benefits with positive effects on the local economy.

In cooperation with civil society, school feeding programmes can help to build confidence in national education systems and promote social inclusion.

Facts in figures

  • 18.3 million students in 60 countries received meals, snacks or take-away food through WFP in 2017
  • 660,000 students received a meal, snack or takeaway food from WFP in Syria.
  • 39 million school children were indirectly reached in 2017 in 65 countries where the WFP provided technical assistance for state school feeding programmes.
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