On October 18 and 19, Yolonda C. Richardson, President and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), participated in the inaugural Global Summit of the School Meals Coalition. The School Meals Coalition, launched in 2021 under the leadership of France and Finland with the support of the World Food Programme, aims to ensure that by 2030, every child in the world can receive a nutritious meal in school.

With the theme: “Investing in Future Generations: Human Capital, Sustainable Food Systems and Climate Change Action Through School Meals,” the Summit brought together Heads of States, Ministers, Parliamentarians, local governments, development partners, civil society organizations and academia from across the world to discuss their commitments to the Coalition using school meals as an effective policy lever for socio-economic transformation.

The Summit takes place at a time when the world is battling rising hunger and food prices, unsustainable education systems, conflict and climate change. Millions of the world’s most vulnerable children are still denied access to school meals that could transform their lives. GHAI is participating as part of our partnership with the World Food Programme to advance policy change and support School Meals Coalition partners to transform school meals purchasing and improve nutrition, equity and sustainability in six pilot countries (Benin, Burundi, Ghana, Honduras, India and Rwanda). GHAI is supporting stakeholders to tailor national-level advocacy plans for their own countries. These national plans will advance the adoption of values-based institutional procurement to support healthy school environments and promote an equitable and sustainable food and nutrition system, with a special focus on leveraging school meals programs as vehicles to drive social and economic change. This national level momentum will contribute to and benefit from a global level advocacy plan the reinforces the policy objectives.

School food environments, including school meals, are a unique opportunity to tackle the multiple challenges facing food systems and malnutrition. We aim to strengthen the Coalition to drive significant changes in school meals and food environments and advocate for policies proven to have long-lasting impacts on food security, nutrition and health, education, water and sanitation, child protection, economy and gender equality.

Listen to Yolonda’s message:

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