School Meals, Social Protection, and Human Development: Revisiting Trends, Evidence, and Practices in South Asia and Beyond

With nearly 420 million children reached worldwide, school meals are among the largest-scale social protection interventions. This paper traces the evolution of school meals programs globally, examines the empirical evidence underpinning them, reviews select implementation practices with an emphasis on South Asia, and provides one of the first estimates of World Bank’s investments in school meals.