The Mongolian case
School feeding programs improve learning outcomes by ensuring that students have the nutrients, and therefore the energy, they need to focus at school. Malnutrition can have a significant impact on cognitive and physical development, making it difficult for children to concentrate and engage in the classroom.
To ensure the student nutritional needs are met, the School Lunch Program in Mongolia ensures nutritionists are involved in their school feeding program. Health interventions and physical education complement the program’s objectives surrounding nutrition.
Regular school meals can help to ensure that children have the nutrition they need to grow into healthy, educated adults.
Getting kids fed (and in the classroom) in Guatemala
One of the primary objectives of the school feeding program (Programa de Alimentación Escolar) in Guatemala is to meet educational goals. Providing students with an in-school snack 5 times per week and take-home rations occasionally, this program reached over 2.5 million preschool and primary school students in the 2020 school year.
School feeding is a top priority for the government of Guatemala in 2023, evidenced by an announcement to expand to over 36,000 educational centers, increasing coverage to over 3.1 million students.
As research has shown that school feeding programs can have a positive impact on student attendance and retention rates, this robust provision of food at school acts as an incentive for students to regularly attend classes.
When children receive adequate nutrition during their early years, with the eventual goal of the first 8,000 days, they grow up to be healthier, more productive adults, and with the benefit of a school meal, more educated as well.