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Generating evidence for school-driven food system transformation to support equity and resilience in Africa

The impact of feeding children at school in terms of education, nutrition and farmer incomes is well-documented, but the impact on food systems is understudied in terms of both policy and operational pathways and processes. School-driven food system transformation provides a way to improve nutritional outcomes (and reduce gender gaps in health) for the most economically vulnerable children while developing a sustainable local economy for healthy meals. There is now a clear need, as recognized by national governments and international agencies, to generate and apply country-specific actionable evidence on how feeding children at school and institutional procurement can be effective levers to influence both the supply of and demand for healthy diets. By understanding how feeding at school interfaces with local food systems and markets, the research will identify opportunities for strengthening environmental sustainability and health outcomes. The proposed research will specifically focus on understanding how this pathway to transformation can be shaped to directly benefit low-income communities, women and other equity-seeking groups.

This project aims to assess how school feeding and procurement can be an effective pathway for food system transformation. Through this project, the School Meals Coalition will expand its research focus in Africa to ensure coverage of five country case studies, the first of which will include Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. The results will inform policies and programs that reach the most vulnerable children in resource poor settings and improve understanding of how to build more economically and environmentally resilient local food systems. This will be in parallel to ensuring delivery of joint education and health outcomes for children. The collaboration across Africa will support evidence driven policy action through national systems in the countries of focus.

This project will be funded through the Catalyzing Change for Health and Sustainable Food Systems (CCHeFS) Initiative, a co-funding partnership between IDRC and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
48 months
IDRC Officer
Madiha Ahmed
Total Funding
CA$ 1,868,000.00
South of Sahara
Institution Country
United Kingdom
Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine