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Lessons from Development Interventions: Rigorous Impact Evaluation of Selected Development Interventions in Key Areas (e.g. Nutrition, Health, Education, etc.)

Running Head: Evaluation of the School Feeding Program (SFP) in Bangladesh

Almost every country in the world has a national School Feeding Program (SFP). It reaches around 368 million children annually and 18(49) percent children in low income (upper-middle income) countries receive some sort of SF. A sample of 10 countries shows that SFP brought about USD 3 to USD 8 for every dollar invested from improved health and education among school children and increased productivity when they become adult (WFP). 

Aligning with that line, World Food Programme (WFP) started a small scale SFP in Jessore in 2001. Considering the WFP studies, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) initiated its own school feeding program in poverty-prone upazillas in 2010. The WFP provided the technical assistance to GoB and financed its own SFP under the GoB’s program. The 3rd revised version of the project has been approved in 2017 and this amendment enabled SFP to be operated in 104 (GoB-93 and WFP-12) upazillas. All children in pre-primary and primary schools under those upazillas receive nutrition fortified biscuits.  Recently, the Inter-Ministerial Committee has endorsed the draft nutrition-sensitive "National School Meal Policy 2019" where the minimum nutrition requirements for school meal are clearly specified. This policy intervention will come along with a scaling-up of hot cooked-meal which is currently being implemented in three upazillas. Both variants of SFP are accompanied by an Essential Learning Package (ELP).


The primary objective of the study is to assess the impact of school Feeding Program (SFP) on children’s educational, learning, nutritional and health outcome. Further, the economic related outcomes due to introduction of this SFP.  The specific objectives are :

i) To estimate the difference in educational outcome (e.g., school enrollment, increasing attendance, decreasing dropout, increasing cognitive ability) of students transitioning to one form of school meal to the other.  

ii) To estimate the difference in nutritional outcome (e.g., reduced underweight, reduced prevalence of anemia, dietary behavior, micronutrient intake) of students with and without SFP  

iii) To estimate the difference in health outcome of students (e.g., sickness absenteeism and presenteeism, disease averted, health improvement) of students with and without SFP  

iv) To document the economic outcome (e.g., increasing income-generating activities for woman, reduced child labor supply, household food availability, reducing out-of-pocket spending, access to market due to implementing SFP in selected upazilas.


Research Design 

Quantitative method will be applied on intervention and comparison groups in pre- and post-intervention periods for estimating the impact of the Scholl Feeding Program (SFP). The quasi-experimental study design will be adopted since randomization at the individual and or school level might not be possible. 

Study setting

School in the intervention group will be constituted by those schools where the ‘transition to cooked meal’ will be implemented. Comparison group will be constituted with the schools where biscuits are provided.

Study Team: Minhaj Mahmud (Team leader), Abdur Razzaque Sarker, Shahidul Islam

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