When is the most expensive program the right option?

Imagine you had a choice between spending $0.27 on a day to feed a child or $1.33. Seems like a no-brainer: go cheaper, right? Actually, wrong.

Haiti is using CARE’s school feeding model as one of its flagships for driving development between now and 2030, even though it’s the most expensive option. Find out why.

Imagine you had a choice between spending $0.27 on a day to feed a child or $1.33. Seems like a no-brainer: go cheaper, right? Actually, wrong. Haiti has decided that it should roll out the more expensive option at scale and test the results. Why? Because they think it’s going to help Haiti more in the long term than the cheaper option will.

Kore Lavi, which CARE runs in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST), the World Food Program, World Vision, and Action Against Hunger, is a program financed through the generous support of USAID’s Food For Peace. One of its pilot initiatives was a locally-sourced school feeding program to build the food security of the ultra-poor.

What did we accomplish?

  • Changed government policies: The National School Feeding Policy highlights the Kore Lavi model as one of 2 primary options it will pilot in the next 5 years to anchor their local development.
  • Influence programs at scale: Our pilot program reached 4,000 students. If the pilot model rolls out nationally, it will reach 867,000 students. That a 216 fold increase in scale.
  • 60% increase in attendance: in the pilot’s first year, Kore Lavi saw attendance jump from 60% to 96% as students started getting high quality meals at school.
  • Cut malnutrition by 65%: The number of children in the program who were underweight went from 14% to 5% in the first 3 months of the program.

How did we get there?

  • Listen to government goals: Haiti wants its school feeding policy to meet a lot of goals: nutrition, educational improvement, better production, and stronger local businesses. Kore Lavi may be 5 times more expensive than the cheapest option, but it meets all of those goals, rather than only one or two.
  • Work with the government: Kore Lavi has a close partnership with the MAST and jointly pilots new ideas, which means there is more buy-in and ownership with program models.
  • Generate evidence of change: Kore Lavi is the only program the government uses to cite evidence that school feeding programs change lives. Because the data was readily available, they were able to use it to shape their plans for the next 14 years.
  • Buy local: One of Kore Lavi’s key selling points is that it doesn’t just benefit children. It also helps the local economy by buying local produce and uses local catering businesses to provide services. That means the government gets more bang for their buck. It’s not just kids who benefit, it’s the whole economy
  • Diversify diets: Besides buying local, Kore Lavi is more expensive because it provides children with nutritionally balanced diets—instead of just rice or corn. That means that kids get healthier diets.

Want to learn more?

Check out the National School Feeding Policy (in French), or look at the project website at www.care.org/korelavi