Research findings have confirmed the wide-ranging and mutually reinforcing benefits generated by school feeding programs—particularly when complemented by school health programs—across several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including education, nutrition, child health, social protection, and poverty reduction and also through homegrown school feeding and rural livelihoods. Yet, despite school meals programs being an investment that generates high social and economic returns, they have a limited reach to areas where they are most needed. Sustainable funding is one of the key bottlenecks to scaling school meals to all children.
The Sustainable Financing Initiative for School Health and Nutrition (SFI) is an initiative of the School Meals Coalition, led by the Learning Generation Initiative. It works with governments and donors to help countries develop multi-year financing strategies for school feeding programs with a particular focus on low- and lower-middle-income countries.
Key activities for SFI include the following:
- Undertake research on donor and domestic financing and innovative financing mechanisms that governments can use to finance their school feeding programs
- Work with country governments to develop financing strategies, including estimating the full costs of school meals programs (and possible areas for efficiencies), developing allocation strategies (with focus on equity), understanding existing funding, and developing options for addressing the gaps from domestic and international resources
- Continue to raise the profile of the need to finance school meals on the global agenda through high-level policy engagement
- Produced two research papers, one policy brief, one investment case, seven country case studies, and numerous media pieces to fill the evidence gap on the financing of school meals and the link with food systems and to create a better understanding of the practices leaders can adopt to build sustainable programs
- Developed a costing tool, methodology, and guidance note to help countries develop their financing strategies
- Participated in global events, such as the United Nations General Assembly and the School Meals Coalition, to engage directly with 20+ country governments and partners
- Developed a financing strategy for the Government of Rwanda and costed the scaling of school meals in Sierra Leone
School Meals Coalition, Research Consortium for School Health and Nutrition, World Food Program, Global Education Forum, United Nations