The World Food Programme’s (WFP) School Feeding Programme was introduced in South Sudan (then Southern Sudan) in 2003 with the aim of enhancing access to food. The school feeding programme is a safety net aimed at incentivizing education for children to come to school. Having food at school every day can mean not only better nutrition and health, but also increased access to and achievement in education.
Six years of civil war have resulted in one of the largest internal and external displacement crisis, affecting all areas of the economylivelihoods, education and health. Many schools were abandoned or destroyed, inhibiting access to education for children. As a result, enrolment and attendance rates plummeted to 62 percent in 2015 from 85 percent in 2009.
With the continued expansion of the school feeding programme to reach more schools and children, improved enrolment and attendance rates have continued to improve with 2019 recording a percentage increase of 2.5 percent. In 2020, WFP assists 511,000 children across 1,100 schools in all of the ten states of South Sudan.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all schools have been closed. WFP provided Take-Home Rations to 23,000 children in the most food insecure counties to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on children’s health and nutrition.
WFP’s school feeding programme offers two modalities: children receive daily on-site cooked meals or a takehome ration, which is given to the child at the end of the month. Take-home rations encourage parents to consistently send their children to school.
School feeding serves as a key safety net to ensure that children have access to education, health and nutrition.
The programme addresses hunger among schoolchildren so they can learn better, thereby helping to break the inter-generational cycle of hunger, malnutrition and illiteracy. It also provides an important opportunity to build the resilience of the entire community by acting as a market for local produce by smallholder farmers.
WFP is working with the Government of South Sudan to roll-out the Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF) model, where locally sourced food from smallholder farmers is supplied to schools. By providing a predictable market to smallholder farmers, local economies can be boosted and agricultural production stimulated. At the same time, schools can be used to teach children about nutrition and food production.
WFP works with FAO on the implementation of a school gardens project. The programme facilitates the establishment of school gardens to provide an opportunity to teach children about the importance of a diverse and nutritious diet and learn some basic agricultural skills. In 2019, 200 schools had established school gardens with produce supplementing the diet of the children.
Source: World Food Programme