School meals programs involve just what the name implies – providing meals in schools. The idea is simple; the impact is significant. Serving food at school not only helps alleviate hunger among the world’s poorest children, it also helps get them into school, providing them with an important key to a better future – an education.
Where school meals programs are offered, enrollment and attendance rates increase significantly, particularly for girls. Students also stay in school longer. Academic performance improves, as well; students with a full stomach concentrate better and comprehend material more quickly.
Thanks to WFP, more than 20 million children in 70 of the world’s poorest countries are being fed every school day. The food provided is always culturally appropriate, ranging from porridge made of fortified corn and soy to a meal of corn, peas and beans.
It costs approximately 25 cents to fill a cup with a nutritious meal for a child in school.
Through its school meals programs, WFP places special emphasis on girls’ education. In areas where enrollment rates for girls are particularly low, WFP works with families and communities to help make it possible for girls to attend school.
In some cases, a girl’s good attendance is rewarded with food for her family. These take-home rations can be eaten by the family or sold to make up for the loss of the girl’s labor at home. This kind of program makes education affordable and encourages families to send their daughters to school.
School meals programs also help expand the reach of a number of other important activities, including de-worming campaigns and HIV/AIDS education.
WFP USA assists WFP with an ongoing source of funding for girls’ education:
The Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education supports projects that use food assistance to expand access to education for girls and women.
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