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How to Make school feeding program nutrition sensitive

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COVID-19

This question relates to COVID-19.

Anonymous 3422

Emergency Nutrition Consultant

Normal user

17 Sep 2020, 22:58

What is the best strategy to make school feeding  programs nutrition sensitive:

1) If implementing  a take home ration (THR) during this COVID-19 period or

2) For normal on- site feeding progrms.

I would be happy to hear how this is being done especially  from those implementing WFP-supported programs in South Sudan and Sudan.

Thank you.

Tamsin Walters

en-net moderator

Forum moderator

5 Oct 2020, 17:52

Dear Anon,

We have sought inputs from WFP to respond to your question. Many thanks to Jess Bourdaire and WFP colleagues for the following information:

What is the best strategy to make school feeding programs nutrition sensitive?

School feeding programmes are by nature nutrition-sensitive as they address some of the underlying determinants of malnutrition (e.g. increase access to nutritious foods). School meals promote education and support vulnerable families. When programmes are well designed, they can improve the diets and nutrition knowledge and practices of schoolchildren and their communities. The provision of nutritionally balanced school meals should be accompanied by nutrition education and health measures (e.g. hygiene promotion in COVID-19 context) to promote child healthy growth and development, and reduce hunger safely. School feeding programmes can also foster local economies while promoting long-term food security. It is key to enhancing multi-sectoral linkages (e.g. agriculture, WASH, etc.) to inform various sectors policies and use them as entry points to improve school feeding programme strategies.

1) If implementing  a take home ration (THR) during this COVID-19 period or

2) For normal on- site feeding programs.

Continuation with normal on-site school feeding programmes will depend on the specific COVID-19 situation in country. If movement restrictions are in place and schools are closed, the recommendation is to work with governments to support alternative school feeding delivery arrangements that link with existing Social Protection programmes, including cash-based transfers or take-home rations (THR). Any THR should promote good nutrition and avoid including food products high in fat, salt and sugar. Provision of blended foods provide the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients, provided the learner eats the ration. Acknowledging that THR will likely be shared with other family members, consider a larger protection ration, when possible, along with nutrition education messaging, or establish linkages with other nutrition-sensitive programmes (e.g. general food assistance). If it is a cash modality, it will be important that nutritious age-specific foods are promoted. The learner will benefit more from purchasing and eating an egg or a similar nutrient rich food product than just staples. Cash transfer modalities need to be of quality and to be thought as an income transfer to the family, and therefore be convoyed along SBCC messages on nutrition, child health, reproductive health, etc. 

I hope this is helpful and welcome further thoughts from others, especially from those working in Sudan or South Sudan as requested. 

Best wishes,

Tamsin

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