There is limited experimental evidence of the impact of large-scale, government-led school meals programs on educational achievements. The authors report results from a nationwide randomized trial of the Government of Ghana’s school feeding program. After two years, program availability led to moderate increases in test scores for the average pupil, and to remarkable learning and cognitive gains for girls, and children from the poorest households and regions. Increases in enrolment, attainment, and shifts in time spent at school constituted mechanisms for impact. The program combined social protection with equitable human capital accumulation, thus contributing to the “learning for all” sustainable development agenda.
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