In terms of performances, impact of school feeding is more difficult to demonstrate as it is not solely linked to quality/quantity of daily food intake but also clearly affected by other factors, amongst which an obviously determining one, the class size. Therefore, in some areas with less populated schools (classes of 25-30), proportion of pupils who graduated went up by 10 to 15 percent based on the Directors’ verbal comments while in areas where schools listed high number of students (classes of up to 58 pupils), graduation rate sometimes decreased by 80 percent in spite of school feeding.
In South Kivu (where sending kids to school has not been a priority and/because security conditions were bad for most of the past decade due to presence of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), thanks to school feeding, enrolment and /attendance shot up by an impressive average 119 percent (bearing over 52 schools covered from 2009 to 2011) with a maximum of 248 percent and a minimum of 80 percent.
On the other hand, six schools which were either temporarily occupied by Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) or [were] located nearby temporary armed forces positions lost up to 20 percent of their pupils. In terms of performances (remarks listed above under Grand North Kivu still apply), proportion of pupils who graduated after school feeding introduction stands at an average 85.2 percent for girls and 89.1 percent for boys, reportedly being an increment of about five percent (School Directors’ estimates – not fully documented).
In addition, it is worth remembering that all school feeding should be accompanied by regular (twice a year minimum) de-worming treatments/prevention so that food eaten effectively contributes to better child development and higher concentration/learning capacity.
How long does NRC expect to run this school feeding program? Do you anticipate being able to hand it over to the government or local community?
On a general note, Emergency school feeding is indeed expected to have an impact on attendance and performances as well-fed kids not only have a higher concentration/learning capacity but also “do...not need to rush back home for a meal as soon as the school bell rings!” That quote is from primary school Mabasele's School Director, who went on to elaborate that school feeding (i) clearly is the number one reason for an ever growing number of registered kids, and (ii) helps pupils stay in school after class hours where they can do homework instead of going straight home for food and being called upon by parents for home chores (at the expense of studies).