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Issue paper

Regional overview of national school food and nutrition programmes in Africa

School feeding programmes are recognized as a key part of food assistance and relief in emergency and development programmes.  They are principally concerned with transfer of food to school to alleviate hunger, meet daily consumption needs and encourage attendance and retention.  Home-Grown School Feeding programmes (HGSF) in particular have received attention in recent years because of the links to agricultural development and have therefore been widely viewed as a means to address food insecurity while promoting rural development goals in Africa.

Locally procured school meals, form an important part of HGSF programmes, and when coupled with food and nutrition education (FNE), is a holistic strategy to motivate children to eat diversified and nutritious local foods.  In line with this, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has proposed the School Food and Nutrition (SFN) approach which explores the relationships among a) home-grown school feeding (HGSF), b) food and nutrition education (FNE), and c) supportive policy and regulatory frameworks, in order to assist countries in the establishment and strengthening of sustainable school feeding programs, while contributing to the development of an efficient food system.  

It is within this context that a study was developed to provide a regional perspective on ‘the state of the art of national school food and nutrition programmes in Africa.