Currently hosting around 1 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon still has the highest per capita refugee concentration in the world. According to the 2018 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (VASyR), roughly 34 percent of Syrian refugee households remain moderately to severely food insecure.
School feeding programs (SFPs) are one of several food assistance interventions that aim to offset household food-related concerns by providing income support to families through the provision of food and contributing to learning by increasing children's access to education and maintaining their nutritional status and overall health.
In 2016, WFP started an Emergency School Feeding (ESF) programme in turn co-leading and supporting Lebanon in reaching Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger. The aforementioned programme is provided to Lebanese and Syrian refugee children residing in the most vulnerable communities across Lebanon as identified by UNICEF and UNHCR. Put simply, the ESF programme provides a daily snack pack (fruit, protein and dairy) which is hypothesised to act as an incentive to improve children's school enrolment, attendance, and academic retention.
Since the beginning of the implementation of the ESF in Lebanon, regular post-distribution monitoring has been conducted in schools receiving the ESF, however the programme's effectiveness at achieving its goals has yet to be assessed. Additionally, no baseline data exists on children from ESF schools making this study an ideal case for investigating the overall efficacy of SFPs.
For this, we have designed a research component to assess changes in nutritional and educational status of children (grades 4, 5, and 6) attending 12 programme schools and 12 matched control schools. We collected data on: diet diversity, child food security, nutritional knowledge, self-esteem and sense of school community, attendance and educational achievement.
Research Timeline: 2019-2020
- Hala Ghattas (PI), Interim director Associate research professor, CRPH
- Chaza Akik (co-PI), Assistant Research Professor, CRPH
- Gloria Safadi, Research Assistant, CRPH
- Sara Abou Fakher, Research Assistant, CRPH