School meal programs* – in which students are provided with snacks, meals, or other foods in or through schools – are common throughout the world. However, there has been no global school meal program database that gathers standardized information across all countries and sectors and covers a comprehensive set of school-based feeding activities.
The Global Survey of School Meal Programs, conducted by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF), will be administered every two to three years, beginning in 2019. The 2019 survey will be used to develop a baseline database on the current state of school feeding programs in all countries of the world (including those with no school feeding activities). The survey is designed to capture information on:
- The scope of school feeding activities in each country in the most recently completed school year
- Government involvement with school feeding
- Nutrition, education, and gender
- Agricultural and private sector engagement
The survey database will enable a participating country to:
- Share information about its school meal programs with stakeholders and researchers around the world
- Identify strengths, weaknesses, and needs within programs
- Recognize and remedy gaps in program data collection
- Learn from the successes and challenges of other countries’ school feeding programs
- Invest in school nutrition with deeper knowledge of the sector globally, including trends, gaps, and opportunities
- Direct training, education, research, and funding efforts to the areas of greatest need
GCNF is particularly interested in national government involvement with school feeding, and hosts an annual conference, the Global Child Nutrition Forum, to encourage learning and sharing across countries and between officials responsible for school meal programs. Because of the focus on national government ownership and involvement, this survey is designed to be answered by a government representative – a survey Focal Point – who is involved with school feeding in their country. Governments that respond to the survey questionnaire will be invited to send representatives to the 2019 Global Child Nutrition Forum at a discounted rate.
*While aware of distinctions that may exist between the terms school meal, school feeding, and school nutrition (programs), we are using school feeding throughout most of this survey as we aim to capture core information regarding all such programs.