Project Description

Picture: courtesy of A. Avdeenko / A. Bohne


In Ethiopia we have conducted an impact evaluation of the extensive School Meals Programme (SMP). SMP was led by the United Nations World Food Programme Ethiopia (WFP) as a part of Ethiopia’s Education Sector Development Program (ESDP).

A sufficient and well-balanced nutrition is crucial during childhood and is linked in several ways to children’s cognitive performance, school attainment and enrollment. The regions of Afar, Amhara, Oromya, SNNPR, Somali and Tigray are plagued with chronic food insecurity, lower enrollment and higher gender disparity.


The analysis measured the impact of school meal provision on children’s school enrollment, regularity of attendance, dropout rate and school performance including concentration span and cognitive development in food-insecure regions of Ethiopia. More specifically, the impact study involved an ex-post evaluation of the SMP and relied on treatment and comparison schools as well as children in food-insecure districts in 4 of the 6 regions. All together it covered about 200 schools. The mixed-methods nature of the study could shed light on the challenges, gaps and lessons learned in the course of implementing SMP to inform the design and development of future programs.