Nigeria expands school food programme following work with Imperial

Nigeria’s food programme will reach more schools
Nigeria’s food programme will reach more schools

Nigeria is to double its school food programme following research with a team at Imperial.

As part of his ’Renewed Hope Strategy’, the President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has announced plans to increase the provision of school meals from 10 million to 20 million children by 2025 following work with Imperial’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD) .

The expansion of the progamme to new schools will see children fed daily with food sourced from local small holder farmers that not only serves to improve the health and wellbeing of children but is also seen as a significant investment in the rural economy and the nation’s human capital.

The PCD - a partner of the School Meals Coalition’s Research Consortium for School Health and Nutrition - has worked closely with the Nigerian Government for years to provide the evidence for effective policy and the design of the programme.

The research team carried out analysis of 12 State school feeding programs to provide guidance on which implementation models work best. Through the in-depth analyses of different programmes in various state contexts, the work highlighted the trade-offs associated with different school feeding models, showcasing best practices in both programme design and service delivery.

Currently, the number of children fed in school in sub-Saharan Africa has doubled over recent years to 60 million across the continent, with Nigeria feeding around a sixth of these.

Dr Lesley Drake, the Executive Director of the PCD and based in the School of Public Health, said: "This is a clear example of where research has laid the foundation to enact real world change.

"By engaging with policymakers we’ve helped to shape a programme that will enhance the futures of millions of young people."

The team are now undertaking an analysis to calculate the cost-benefits of the program and to develop an investment case to justify the expansion.

Dr Drake added: "As part of the Research Consortium for School Health and Nutrition, PCD stands ready to continue our long-standing support to the government by undertaking a detailed ’value-for-money’ analysis that is so critical for both sustainability and future investment."