Feasibility study paves the way for national school feeding programme relaunch in Bangladesh
Global evidence indicates that school meals not only contribute to children’s health and development, but also positive education and socio-economic outcomes, laying a foundation for human capital development.
“A child’s education and health constitute more than his or her wellbeing – it constitutes the future of a country. Drawing on the success and experience of implementing school feeding programmes over the past 20 years, the Government is determined to make school feeding available to all children enrolled in government primary schools – particularly those from poor and remote upazilas,” said the Honourable State Minister Md. Zakir Hossen MP.
In 2001, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MOPME) and the Department of Primary Education (DPE), with support from WFP, launched the school feeding programme, distributing fortified biscuits. In 2011, the government launched the "School Feeding Programme in Poverty-Prone Areas“. By 2022, some 3 million children in 104 upazilas were covered under the school feeding programme. A pilot was launched in October 2013, in which cooked meals were provided, comprising of fortified rice, pulses as well as vegetables and eggs sourced from local women farmers.
Both the biscuits and cooked meals as modalities made positive impact on the education outcomes for children. School enrolment recorded a 4.2 percent increase, while dropouts reduced by 7.5 percent. The prevalence of anaemia in schools with feeding programmes was less than half that of schools without – 10.9 percent versus 21.9 percent respectively.
“Investing in school feeding is investing in children’s future and the future of Bangladesh. We know that for every dollar spent in school meals, US$9 is yielded in economic returns. WFP commends the Government of Bangladesh for its commitment to the country’s youngest citizens and is honoured to be the partner of choice in this lifechanging endeavour,” said Dom Scalpelli, WFP Country Director in Bangladesh.
WFP has been supporting the Government of Bangladesh to improve food security and nutrition since 1974. Under the current Country Strategy Plan 2022 – 2026, WFP is working towards ending malnutrition and improving the nutrition status of the most vulnerable groups, among other strategic goals.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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