Here’s the Biggest Reason Why WFP Is Helping Children Stay in School

Published September 8, 2015
Last Updated July 26, 2021

As millions of children in the U.S. return to the classroom this fall, the team at World Food Program USA remembers the nearly 60 million children worldwide who are unable to attend school as a result of poverty, hunger and conflict.

To understand just how many boys and girls across the globe are kept out of the classroom each year, UNICEF – one of the United Nations World Food Programme’s many partners in the field – recently released a report comparing school attendance rates among urban and rural communities, wealthy and impoverished countries and boys versus girls.

The numbers are startling. In Bangladesh, for example, nearly half of all children who enter school drop out before graduation. Among the Arab states, Yemen has the highest number of out-of-school children after Sudan. In Zambia, where the HIV/AIDS infection rate is among the highest in the world, children are often kept out of the classroom to work and take care of sick relatives. But there is cause for hope too. In Cambodia, the number of out-of-school children has dropped by more than half in the past decade. In Senegal, the number of girls enrolled in school has been steadily rising.

As the world’s largest provider of school meals, the U.N. World Food Programme is working to get more children back in school by providing a nourishing meal in the classroom. Each year, we reach more than 18 million boys and girls in the world’s poorest schools with a nourishing meal to feed their bodies and fuel their minds.

School meals encourage families to keep their children in school by easing the burden of putting food on the table. They also boost attendance and graduation rates by giving students the nutrition they need to stay healthy, strong and focused on their studies. By promoting education and providing good nutrition, the U.N. World Food Programme is empowering the next generation of inventors, artists and leaders.

Every child, no matter where they come from or what language they speak, all have one thing in common: Potential. Potential for greatness. Potential to change the world as we know it.

Here at World Food Program USA, we know future greatness is all around us. And the key to unlocking that greatness is a good education.

School Meals: Potential

Click to watch and learn why:
Education + School Meals = Zero Hunger