Children who don’t have enough to eat cannot work towards a proper education. Without a proper education, their future prospects are severely limited. School nutrition programs offer the assurance of a daily, nourishing meal to needy school and pre-school children in vulnerable communities in South Africa. We are uncompromising in adhering to best practice principles to ensure the delivery of nutritionally high-value, delicious meals.
The food security status in a child’s home can significantly influence their language comprehension and expression – even as young as 18 months of age. There may also be an irreparable impact of malnutrition in a child’s early years as by the time children reach school age, any height retardation as a result of malnutrition is considered largely irreversible. The negative development outcomes have even been found to have an impact into the next generation, and certainly has a great impact on children’s education. Data from the KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics Study data (1993, 1998 and 2004) indicates that children in the Province who were better nourished, started school earlier than the poorly nourished, progressed further in school and repeated fewer grades.
In-school nutrition cannot wholly address early childhood malnutrition or household deficits, but it can enable children from food-insecure homes to attend school, alleviate hunger at school thereby helping children concentrate, and contribute to the extensive need for improved childhood nutrition in South Africa.
Saha, K.K., et al., Household food security is associated with early childhood language development: results from a longitudinal study in rural Bangladesh. Child: Care, Health & Development, 2010. 36(3): p. 309-316.
Adelman, S., et al., The Impact of Alternative Food for Education Programs on Child Nutrition in Northern Uganda. 2008, International Food Policy Research Institute.
Walker, S.P., et al., Early Childhood Stunting Is Associated with Lower Developmental Levels in the Subsequent Generation of Children. Journal of Nutrition, 2015. 145(4): p. 823-828.
Yamauchi, F., Early Childhood Nutrition, Schooling and Sibling Inequality in a Dynamic Context. 2006, International Food Policy Research Institute: Washington, D.C
children in South Africa under 6 years live below the poverty line
Hall, K., Sambu, W., Berry L., Giese, S., Almeleh, C., and Rosa, S., South African Early Childhood Review. 2016, Cape Town Children's Institute, University of Cape Town and Ilifa Labantwana: Cape Town
of children suffer from stunting due to malnourishment
Hall, K., Nannan, N. and Sambu, W., Child Health and Nutrition, in South African Child Gauge 2013, L. Berry, Biersteker, L., Dawes, A., Lake, L. and Smith, C., Editor. 2013, Cape Town: Children’s Institute
South African households experience persistent food insecurity
StatsSA, Community Survey 2016: Statistical Release P0301. 2016, Statistics South Africa: Pretoria.
people in South Africa living with HIV
Shisana, O., et al., South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012. 2014, Human Sciences Research Council: Cape Town.
Our simple intervention nourishes a child’s body for growth and health, a child’s mind with the ability to concentrate and learn, and a child’s outlook with hope to rise above the cycle of poverty and hunger. It also provides a behavioural incentive for children to attend school, as well as an economic incentive for their impoverished and/or unemployed caretakers to keep them there.
Malnutrition means more than stunting, wasting or being underweight. It can mean obesity and micronutrient (such as vitamin and mineral) deficiencies as well.
Increasingly we are seeing food high in sugars, processed carbohydrates and fats, but low in micro-nutrients, becoming more affordable and available. The consumption of these ‘globalised’ foods among the poor is resulting in overweight and obesity occurring alongside stunting. Micronutrient deficiencies can occur in children who are not necessarily hungry, but whose diets are of low nutrient quality, or which lack dietary diversity. This is often referred to as a ‘hidden hunger’ and can have serious impacts on education and health by reducing children’s learning ability, impairing development, and reducing immunity.
Our programme is designed to offer a school meal high in protein and fortified with micronutrients to combat all aspects of malnutrition.
What's included in the Lunchbox
We provide a rotating menu of nutritionally fortified foods that are delicious and familiar to the children. Each meal provides the child with a full range of macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Riboflavin, Folate, Thiamine
Rice & Lentils
Amino Acids, Vitamin B5, Magnesium, Iron
Samp & Beans
Complex Carbohydrate, Protein
Isoflavones, Pytate, Pytosterols, Soy Protein, Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Manganese, Selenium, Dietary Fiber
Potassium, Folic Acid, Zinc, Iron
Protein, Monounsaturated Fats, Resveratrol, Vitamin B3, Arginine, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Iron, Antioxidants
Schools add locally sourced vegetables three times a week
The Lunchbox Fund works constantly to improve our program. We consider the best possible options for our packaging and delivery with the aim of reducing our carbon footprint and minimizing ecological impact.
Our menu has been externally reviewed by the Nutrition Information Centre at the University of StellenboschRead Summary of the NICUS Analyses and Updated Menu