Bangladesh expanding its school meals program to reach 400,000 children is excellent news
With Bangladesh on the cusp of achieving historic milestones in the very near future, it is important that the government makes sure that the future generation is cared for, and given the right nutrition needed for proper mental and physical growth.
On that front, Bangladesh expanding its school meals program to reach 400,000 children -- covering 2,000 schools across 16 upazilas -- is excellent news, one that everyone can feel positively about.
The program, with assistance from the World Food Program (WFP), provides school-going children with fresh, hot meals for lunch, and proves to be a cost-effective approach to combating micro-nutrient deficiency, an issue that has always been a bane for Bangladesh, with economic losses from malnutrition estimated at $1 billion annually.
This expansion of the meal plan, part of a $20m investment in the future health and productivity of school children in Bangladesh, is proof that the government is not taking the issue of malnutrition lightly.
The authorities must also be given credit for realizing the high return on this investment, as a well-fed child will improve in productivity throughout his or her life; the right nutrition will also aid in building their cognitive capacities as they move into adolescence and adulthood.
This program also relieves the parents of these children -- most of whom are from humble socio-economic backgrounds -- from the additional cost and responsibility of having to allocate their limited resources towards providing an extra meal for their children, and therefore, allows them greater peace of mind, and the ability to focus on their tasks better.
Providing healthy, fresh, and locally-sourced meals to school children is a significant step towards ensuring that Bangladesh has a healthy and prosperous future generation.