According to WFP’s report, State of School Feeding Worldwide, 370 million children in 199 countries and territories were suddenly deprived of school meals, when schools closed due to the pandemic. That meal was for many their only nutritious food of the day.
David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, highlighted the importance of what’s been lost: “That one meal a day is often the reason hungry children go to school in the first place. It’s also a powerful incentive to make sure they’ll come back after lockdown ends.
“We need to get these programmes running again – even better than before – to stop COVID destroying the futures of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children.”
To that end, WFP will build a coalition to support governments scale up their school meals programmes, working with development agencies, donors, the private sector and civil society organizations, according to the agency.
It has also launched a ten-year School Feeding Strategy to strengthen its global strategic role in school health and nutrition. In addition, the agency will promote research on school health and nutrition as a global public good, helping countries create more cost-efficient programmes.