Making sure children are healthy and well-nourished while in school is crucial to their ability to learn and thrive. School feeding as part of an integrated school health and nutrition package supports children to become better learners in school and to improve their overall wellbeing. Very simply: sick children cannot attend school, and hungry children cannot learn.
School meals are an essential safety net which helps to ensure that every child has access to education, health and nutrition. In the fight against hunger, school meals are a sound investment in the next generation and a country’s human capital - thus improving their future economic growth and development prospects.
For the more vulnerable students, enrolling in school, attending regularly and learning is often made more difficult by illness, hunger and malnutrition. In many parts of the world, children from vulnerable families are often pulled out of school when they are needed to work at home. For these children and their families, a daily meal or snack can be a strong incentive for families to keep their children, especially girls, in school.
In 2019, WFP provided school meals or snacks to 17.3 million schoolchildren, 50 percent of them were girls. To learn more about WFP school feeding programmes in 2019, please see this infographic.