School feeding programme implementation and its challenges in basic education schools in Rwanda

The condition of food insecurity and malnutrition for school-aged children and adolescents remains one of the most influential determinants of learning outcomes. Healthy and well-nourished students learn better, have a prodigious opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential as adults, and increase their earning potential. The purpose of this study was twofold: a) to examine the implementation level of the school feeding programme and b) to identify the existing challenges that limit the school feeding programme from realizing its full potential in basic education schools. The study was directed by a descriptive research design, and 227 were selected using stratified and simple random sampling approaches, with 73.7% males and 26.3% females. The bulk of participants (39.2%) were between the ages of 30 and 40. Questionnaires and interview guides were used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data. The numeric data were descriptively examined using SPSS, and the qualitative data was studied using theme analysis. The study established a moderate level of school feeding implementation in terms of programmes coverage, school meal and cost, school meal preparation, and service. The study revealed different challenges hindering the effectiveness of the school feeding programme in basic education schools, including insufficient food served to the students in quantity and quality, inadequate materials and infrastructure, and unaffordable prices of required groceries from the market. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of school feeding programmes, the Rwandan government and its partners in these programmes should raise the school feeding fund allotted to basic education institutions throughout the country. To the same extent, the Rwandan government is advised to a) transfer the school feeding fund to the schools for timely use, b) provide the schools with the necessary equipment and materials for cooking and serving meals to students, as well as the provision of required dining rooms, c) find an adequate way to fix the country's progressive price increase, and d) promote the school gardening concept (such as growing vegetables and other relevant crops).