School feeding or general food distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

Dr. Jean-Pierre Tranchant , Institute of Development Studies

In 2016, at least 357 million children (one in six globally) were living in areas affected by conflict, and the number had been steadily rising since the 2000s. Conflicts and related exposure to violence can have devastating effects on children’s education, health, and overall well-being. Social protection, including cash transfers, vouchers, general food distribution, and school feeding, is increasingly seen as a sustainable tool to build human capital and reduce poverty during conflict and other crises, thus potentially bridging the gap between humanitarian responses and long-term development. Food assistance has been a key element of humanitarian aid. In the past decade, school feeding has been scaled up in emergencies as a rapidly deployable safety net, while generalized food distribution (GFD) is the largest component of humanitarian assistance globally. Despite the critical role of social protection in conflict and emergencies, evidence on the impacts, particularly food-based programmes, on child education is remarkably thin.


In this paper, we attempt to shed light on these open questions by focusing on the educational impacts of GFD and school feeding during the recent conflict in Mali. Relying on a unique pre-crisis baseline and a follow up survey collected 5 years later, we provide matched difference in differences estimates of the impact of food assistance on children’s school enrolment, attendance and attainment in Mopti, central Mali. We also investigate whether the educational effects of social protection programmes in conflict vary by type of programme, child gender and degree of conflict intensity We found that while food-based social protection was able to significantly improve schooling outcomes for children, these impacts critically differed across programme types and gender.

The article can be found here:

About the speaker

Jean-Pierre Tranchant is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. He is an applied quantitative economist, specialised in the relationships between violent conflict and human development at the micro and meso-levels. He notably works on the impact of armed conflict on child malnutrition, social capital and forced labour, and on the effect of humanitarian aid on food security, nutrition and educational outcomes in conflict settings. He has also worked on decentralised development and on the links between decentralisation and ethnic conflict.  Jean-Pierre is also involved in a range of mixed-methods impact evaluation of development projects in the domains of nutrition, livelihood or governance, often in fragile contexts.

Date: 27 September 2018

Time: 12:00 - 13:00