School nutrition facilitates a child’s ability to learn and supports their promise of reaching the full potential as adults. Less than 50% of children who start school in Grade 1 in South Africa make it through Grade 12. Poor education drives the high unemployment rate, which is between 40% and 70% for those who have not completed high school.
Hunger, poverty and lack of access to effective education means that millions of caregivers are unable to provide for their children’s healthy development and education. Around 12 million children in South Africa live below the poverty line, and 4.4 million households in South Africa do not have frequent, reliable access to food.
A guaranteed meal served at school incentivises impoverished caregivers to send their children to school. It enables children to develop, grow and learn in a safe and stimulating environment, and prepares them to receive a formal education. When a child stays in school, their ability to generate future income and build a livelihood is increased. Through interactions with teachers, fellow-students and food preparers, the child also stays connected, cared for and involved.
Roodt, M., The South African Education Crisis: giving power back to parents. 2018, Institute of Race Relations: Johannesburg.
Ikdal, A., et al., Four Priorities Requiring Leadership for South Africa’s Future. 2015, The Boston Consulting Group.
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.
Vermeersch, C. and M. Kremer, School Meals, Educational Achievement and School Competition: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation, in Report No. 3523. 2005, The World Bank.
Omwami, E.M., C. Neumann, and N.O. Bwibo, Effects of a school feeding intervention on school attendance rates among elementary schoolchildren in rural Kenya. Nutrition, 2011. 27(2): p. 188-193.
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.
SA children under 6 live below the food poverty line
of the poorest children have no access to educare
of children in the poorest schools present as school unready in Grade One
of children who start Grade One never finish school
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 wide range of macro and micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Rice & Lentils
Protein, Fibre, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Amino Acids, Vitamin B5
Riboflavin, Folate, Thiamine
Samp & Beans
Complex carbohydrates, Protein, Zinc, Iron
Protein, Fibre, Folate, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, B5, Carotenes, Vit A, K & C
Carbohydrates, Fibre, Manganese, Selenium
Protein, Isoflavones, Phytate, Phytosterols, Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Dehydrated Vegetables, Fibre, Iron, Retinol, Vit B2
Vitamilk & Vitadrink
Protein, Potassium, Folic Acid, Zinc, Iron
Protein, Monounsaturated Fats, Vit B3, Arginine, Vit E, Magnesium, Iron, Resveratrol, Antioxidants
Schools are required to source locally available fresh vegetables to add to the menu three times weekly, providing additional vitamins, minerals, fibre, and carotenes
Our menu has been externally reviewed by the Nutrition Information Centre at the University of StellenboschRead Summary of the NICUS Analyses