On the morning of Day 2, we visited two additional Millennium Village schools that TFT supports. We enjoyed some more ugali while witnessing the impact of the school meals program.
But an assessment of impact is difficult without some benchmark for comparison, so in the afternoon TFT staff drove a few extra miles to visit a non-project school that did not have an operating school meals program. At first glance the contrast did not seem as sharp as expected, until we looked at the statistics:
- Enrollment from grades 1-7: 245 versus 532 for the average MVP school
- In addition, while there is gender parity (or actually a slightly greater number of girls compared to boys) in the MVP schools, boys outnumbered girls by a non-trivial amount.
- Attendance: 75% versus over 95% for MVP schools
- Dropouts: over 60% of children in the “comparison school” dropped out before reaching grade 7. We don’t have the exact figure for MVP schools as the moment but it is significantly less.
A true comparison school (or “control group”) is difficult for ethical reasons and thus this is not a rigorous analysis. However, the impact of school meals on educational attainment was indisputable.