Under-nutrition leading to poor learning capacity is a major public health problem among primary school children in Ethiopia. The main conditions that have a negative impact on the health and education of children are related to poor nutrition and sanitation. Inadequate food, poor diet, infections, lack of safe water and poor sanitary facilities, especially affecting pubescent girls, are some of the common problems faced by primary school children in Ethiopia. Impaired sight is another contributing factor. The long-term effect of these conditions is a negative impact on the overall growth and development of children, which decreases their learning potential and hinders prospects for them and their families in the future. To meet some of these negative impacts, IFA set-up a Sustainable School Health and Nutrition Program (SSHNP). The objectives of the program are to deliver a plant-based nutritional diet for some the most vulnerable students in selected primary schools, support pubescent girls, ensure all students have optimum vision, improve sanitary facilities, provide storage for clean water and provide training to students in the importance of good hygiene and hand washing. The SSHNP seeks long-term sustainability through community ownership and the development of income generating activities.
The program was set up under four components, namely: