Laos, USDA MCGovern Dole Grant for WFP School Feeding 2017-2022: Evaluation

Publication language
Date published
01 Oct 2023
World Food Programme (WFP)
Impact evaluation
Lao People's Democratic Republic

The evaluation was commissioned to assess (a) whether targeted beneficiaries received services as expected and (b) if the project met its stated goals and objectives in line with the results frameworks and assumptions, and in contrast to the baseline and mid-term findings. Additionally, the evaluation analyzed incorporated gender, equity, and wider inclusion objectives and gender equality and women’s empowerment mainstreaming principles in the design and implementation of the evaluation. 

It was intended for both accountability and learning purposes. It focused on assessing the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and impact.  

Overarching evaluation questions focused on:  

  • How relevant and influential has the project been with regards the Government of Laos’ current and future plans in school feeding? 
  • How effective and efficient was the project in adapting to circumstances and meeting its stated goals? 
  • How significant are the changes brought about by the project since the baseline, measured in terms of outcomes and impacts? 
  • The extent to which the program interventions continue post-handover of school feeding program.  

The evaluation covered the following activities: a) School Feeding; b) Nutrition; c) Quality of Education.  

Key evaluation findings included: 

  • The project was highly relevant to and influential in the Government of Lao PDR’s current and future plans for school feeding and social protection. In addition, it consistently aligned with the WFP Country Strategic Plans and contributed to improving food security, learning outcomes and community-driven service delivery in vulnerable areas.  
  • The project effectively performed on enrollment, attendance, and attentiveness from baseline despite the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but challenges persist with low learning outcomes and literacy standards among children from disadvantaged backgrounds and remote areas.  
  • The project had significant positive impacts on school enrolment, attendance, attentiveness, and community engagement that contributed to improved dietary practices and increased community knowledge in farming and livestock management. However, challenges remained in ensuring the inclusion of children with disabilities and mainstreaming gender in design and implementation.  
  • The sustainability of school feeding activities after the handover to the government poses challenges due to capacity of communities and government institutions and securing funding and resources of the project continuity.  

Key recommendations from the evaluation included:  

  • Investigate causes of declined learning scores for future intervention. Streamline and improve monitoring mechanisms to be manageable and support targeted and context-specific learning agendas.  
  • Strengthen capacity and collaboration within and between local government entities towards the promotion of ownership  
  • Pay specific attention to addressing disparities among ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and gender inequalities.   
  • Diversity funding sources to mitigate the risks associated with limited budgets and donor dependency.  
  • Promote sustainable agriculture and local procurement that can contribute to local economy development, enhance food security and reduce dependance on external sources.