A WFP/Yemen mission is examining the details of national school feeding. The WFP Executive Board will have to approve the initiative in February. The biggest hurdle though will be funding from international donors. WFP is entirely voluntarily funded from governments and the public.
The McGovern-Dole school meals program figures to a big player in helping Yemen. McGovern-Dole is an effort run by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture to fund school meals in developing countries.
Around half of Yemen's population suffers from hunger and malnutrition. Conflict has escalated hunger in parts of the country. A national school lunch program would provide food to children while boosting attendance and performance at school. Japan, South Korea and Germany are examples of countries that were devastated by war but rebuilt their nations in part based on nationwide school feeding.
Currently, WFP runs a Food for Education program which provides take-home rations to a limited amount of schoolgirls. In addition, there are school meals provided for Somali refugee children in Southern Yemen.
Many factors will go into the planning including how much of the food can be provided from local sources. These details will be examined in the coming months by both WFP, Yemen's Ministry of Education and partners.
WFP's plan would be to provide support to Yemen to start the national school lunch program. In time, WFP's role would diminish with Yemen ultimately running a self-sustaining school lunch program.