German support set to transform school meals in Lao PDR

Vientiane – Germany through its Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has signed an agreement with Lao PDR’s Ministry of Education and Sports to support the country’s largest social safety net, the school meals programme. This initiative, in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) aims to reduce rural poverty by supporting local agriculture in supplying food to schools. This support is part of the Accelerating School Meals project, a contribution of EUR 22 million from BMZ to WFP for a five-year (2023 – 2028) period to Lao PDR, Sierra Leone and the School Feeding Trust Fund.

Since the early 2000s, the Government of Lao PDR has worked to improve primary school enrolment and retention rates with the help of school meals, an incentive for education for many rural families. Currently, about 25 percent of primary schools in the country have school meal programmes, benefitting nearly 250,000 children, but external support is needed to sustain the programmes in many areas.

“There are many points that speak on behalf of school meals, which our Government attaches high importance to. Our Ministry’s Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025 acknowledges the key role that school meals play in reducing inequalities in education by enhancing enrolment, attendance, and learning outcomes. School meals are also one of the 22 key priority interventions of our Government’s National Nutrition Strategy to 2025 and National Plan of Action on Nutrition 2021-2025,” said PhD. Soulioudong Soundara, Vice Minister of Education and Sports.

The new support will link local farmers to schools, providing a steady supply of fresh ingredients for meals that will benefit children’s nutrition and education, while creating economic opportunities for farmers. This initiative, together with financial support from the Government and rice contributions from the families, will establish stable, locally managed school meals programmes. The project also aims to empower women and promotes climate-smart practices among smallholder farmers, equipping schools with energy-efficient cooking solutions.

“Last year, Germany adopted guidelines for a feminist foreign and feminist development policy. The project Accelerating School Meals in Lao PDR, which was designed by the UN World Food Programme to support girls and young women in particular, fits perfectly into these guidelines. Another reason why the Federal Government is financially supporting this important programme is that it aims to achieve climate smart and green food production in the spirit of a climate responsible strategy,” said Annette Knobloch, German Ambassador to Lao PDR.

“Germany’s generous support is framed by WFP’s global efforts to transform food systems and strengthen human capital in countries such as Lao PDR. We also aim to improve health and nutrition awareness for students in rural schools, so that the next generation can make choices that equip them for a happy and productive future,” said Jacqueline de Groot, WFP Country Director and Representative a.i.

Project background:

Germany’s support amounts to EUR 22 million to Laos PDR, Sierra Leone and the School Feeding Trust fund over 5 years (2023-2028). Target areas are 200 schools in the three southern provinces of Salavanh, Sekong and Attapeu, benefitting 22,000 children. The project is implemented under the leadership of the Inclusive Education Development Centre of the Ministry of Education and Sports. During the five years of implementation, the project will further strengthen government capacities on all levels and will formulate a sustainable financing strategy for school meals.

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.


Ildiko Hamos, Partnerships and Communications Coordinator,
Tel. +856 (0)21 330 300 ext. 2500, Mob. +856 (0)20 7717 7913

Vilakone Sipaseuth, Communication Officer,
Tel. +856 (0)21 330 300 ext. 2502, Mob. +856 (0)20 5200 5618

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