Healthy school meals for better educational opportunities (completed)

Project description

Title: Nutrition and Access to Primary Education
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union from 2016 to 2021
Country: Malawi
Lead executing agency: Department of School Health and Nutrition (Ministry of Education)
Overall term: 2016 to 2022



Malawi has serious problems of food and nutrition insecurity to contend with: some 37 per cent of children under five are affected by chronic malnutrition. The consequences of this are stunted growth and frequent illness.

As many children go to school on an empty stomach, they have difficulty concentrating. This leads to absenteeism, a high rate of repeat years and children dropping out of school altogether. Moreover, many schools have no or only limited access to water and sanitary facilities, which means that girls often do not attend classes during their period. As a result, education outcomes in Malawi are among the lowest in the region.

To promote healthy nutrition, Malawi Government has drawn up the National School Health and Nutrition Strategic Plan. The Home Grown School Meals programme plays an important role in this.


Community members, teachers and school heads work together at supported schools to provide healthy school meals.


The project supports 150 schools in their efforts to provide healthy meals on a long-term basis, so that children can attend school regularly. This is improving the pupils’ nutrition and health as well as their learning ability. In addition, the project promotes good nutrition and hygiene practices using interactive formats, such as cooking demonstrations, radio programmes and school clubs.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project is also developing the schools’ sanitary infrastructure and investing in the construction of boreholes and sanitary facilities. With regular hand-washing, pupils and teachers can prevent the spread of diarrhoeal disease and COVID-19.

The European Union provided financial support for the project from 2016 to 2021.

Last update: July 2021

Additional information