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Keeping children in school helps break the cycle of poverty by giving children the food they need to grow healthy and strong and reach their full potential.
Millions of children around the globe don’t get the food they need to unlock their potential, and school meals are often their only reliable source of nutrition.
Children from vulnerable families are often pulled out of school when they are needed to work at home, or to be married. A daily meal or snack can be a strong incentive for families to keep sending their children to school.
In poor countries, a WFP-supported school meal is often the only regular meal a child receives. WFP uses nutrition-sensitive planning and strives to include fresh foods to make meals as nutritious as possible.
Today, WFP is the world’s largest provider of school meals, reaching more than 18 million children across 71 countries in 2017. This daily meal removes hunger as a barrier to education and helps students concentrate and succeed in the classroom. WFP also supports countries in developing sustainable government-owned programs. In 2017, WFP supported 65 governments to enhance the quality and efficiency of their national programs, which resulted in enhanced school meals programs for an additional 39 million children.
WFP’s school meals can also become a lifeline for small-scale farmers. By using locally grown crops whenever possible, WFP offers a stable market for struggling food producers. This “homegrown” approach means students get a fresher, more diverse diet, including fruits, vegetables and dairy.
Help break the inter-generational cycle of hunger and poverty that affects the world’s most vulnerable areas by helping children become healthy and productive adults.
Get the quick facts on where WFP provides school meals and assistance and the long-lasting benefits of the program.
Need another reason to give? Read the School Meals case for support and see how school meals improve individual students' lives, their communities and the local markets that surround them.
WFP is the world’s largest provider of school meals, reaching more than 18 million children across 71 countries in 2017.
- 18.3 million children
- 71 countries
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