In 2016, the World Food Programme undertook, for the first time, the School Feeding Research in Latin America and the Caribbean. Results were systematized in the publication “Smart School Meals: Nutrition-Sensitive National Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean”, now available online. The publication presents the accomplishments of national school meals programmes in the region and sets new frontiers for school feeding as a strategy to promote the Sustainable Development Goals.
The research systematized information on national school feeding programmes in 16 countries of the region that serve meals to 74 million students daily. The information collected was analyzed with support from the governments of the 16 countries, experts in the area of school feeding and nutrition, the Latin American Network for School Meals (LA-RAE), as well as UN agencies, including the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger in Brazil.
Besides the main publication with the regional results, the research also generated an annex with fact sheets on each of the 16 countries featured in the study: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.
The study identifies six areas that present opportunities to improve school feeding in the region: attention to the nutritional aspects of school feeding, continued political and financial commitment, monitoring and evaluation systems, integration of school feeding programmes with wider social protection strategies, community participation, and innovative multi-sectoral partnerships.