The federal McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is named after former Senator George McGovern (D-SD) and former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) for their long-standing commitment to U.S. government efforts in school feeding and child nutrition around the world. Congress first authorized the program as part of the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, better known as the 2002 farm bill. It has always had bipartisan support.
The McGovern-Dole program’s purpose is to reduce hunger and promote literacy and primary education, especially for girls. It does this by providing school meals and by carrying out other activities that boost the impact of providing these meals. So far, McGovern-Dole has reached 40 million children with food at school. It is currently active in 24 countries.
Over the years, the McGovern-Dole program has led to important improvements in children’s food security and nutritional status and in school enrollment, attendance, and gender parity. It has been proven effective in getting children, particularly girls, into school and helping them stay in school. School meals improve students’ ability to concentrate and learn. They also strengthen food security for the children’s families. In the longer term, educating girls is critical to ending hunger and malnutrition in future generations.