Open Access Capstone
School feeding programs have become a worldwide phenomenon and an agenda pushed by the International Development Agencies such as the World Food Program (WFP) with the assumption that it may contribute towards addressing barriers to poor students’ enrollment and retention in primary schools in developing countries. The assumption is that, because of hunger and low income, parents are mostly likely not motivated to send their children to school; and on the other hand, children too may not effectively concentrate in learning and therefore are likely to drop out of schools. Different studies have shown the effectiveness of the school-feeding program in increasing students’ enrollments, reducing students’ dropout and improving students’ health. However, most available studies do not show how the parents, teachers and students who are the key stakeholders of the program perceive the school feeding program in increasing students’ enrolment and reducing students drop out rate in developing countries.
Using school feeding program implemented by WFP in Chamwino district (in Dodoma Tanzania) as a case study, this study investigated the perceptions of parents, teachers and students on the contribution of school feeding program to increasing students’ enrollment and reducing students’ dropout rate. Sustainability of the school feeding program was also part of this study. The study used mixed methods of data collection, including focus group discussions, informal interviews and questionnaires to unveil the parents’, teachers’ and students’ perceptions towards the school feeding program. The collected data (qualitative and quantitative) were then tabulated, transcribed and analyzed using SPSS. While results on one hand show that parents and teachers considers school feeding as an effective tool to make students enroll in primary school; students’ perception is that school feeding is not an effective factor to make them enroll or to prevent dropout. The study recommends policy options and more areas that need further research.