School Feeding Programs in Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Authors: Lesley Drake, Meena Fernandes, Elisabetta Aurino, Josephine Kiamba, Boitshepo Giyose, Carmen Burbano, Harold Alderman, Lu Mai, Arlene Mitchell, Aulo Gelli


School feeding is one of the most common social protection programs in the world. The near universality of school feeding reflects high demand and recognition of its multiple benefits in terms of child and adolescent development. While acting as an effective social safety net in times of crisis, school feeding represents a key tool to protecting investments made earlier, buffering the effects of early shocks, and contributing to the continuum of interventions from childhood, to adolescence and adulthood. 

To maximize the cost-effectiveness of this multisectoral intervention spanning health, nutrition, education, and agriculture, global good practices need to be adapted to each context. This way, school feeding is not only a tool to promote human capital accumulation in children and adolescents; it can also contribute to broader social and economic development.