February 16, 2011
DARA publishes its recently completed Impact Evaluation of the National School Feeding Programme in Cambodia, commissioned by the World Food Programme (WFP). The evaluation serves to support programme design in Cambodia and inform WFP’s global school feeding policy.
Purpose and evaluation scope
The purpose of the school feeding programme is to incentivise parents to enrol their children in primary education. The evaluation measured the impact school feeding has on:
• Education: impact on children’s schooling in terms of access, retention, performance and promotion
• Nutrition: how it may affect or contribute to an improvement of school-age children’s nutritional status
• Value transfer: the significance it has on vulnerable households’ economy in terms of strengthening safety nets and decreasing families’ vulnerabilities.
Findings and recommendations
DARA found that the school feeding programme has supported primary education by contributing to increased enrolment and attendance. Promotion also improved, but not as anticipated. School children’s performance did not show significant improvements. The evaluation findings indicate that conditional food transfers (take-home rations) were more valuable to families than the daily meals received at schools. We also found that the school meals programme improved children’s nutritional status, especially in terms of improving girls’ growth rates and reducing morbidity, hence increasing attendance rates.
However, school feeding only guarantees impact when combined with favourable contextual factors, and an adequate programme design that targets the most vulnerable.
The evaluation was carried out through a major survey, including 108 schools and over 2000 households, and ran from May to November 2010. The report was presented at WFP’s executive board on February 14th.
DARA carried out a similar evaluation of WFP intervention in Mozambique in 2009.