The South African state has recognised the effects of childhood poverty and since the early democratic era has invested in the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) as a mechanism to alleviate the hunger that many children face. The NSNP feeds over 9 million children each school day and the programme is intended to meet 30-40% of a child’s recommended dietary allowance per day.  These in-school nutrition programmes were significantly disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Enhanced health and safety protocols placed additional burdens on volunteer food handlers and many schools struggled to procure the required foods. These challenges resulted in children receiving fewer meals and nutrients through in-school nutrition.

The Voice of the Child study, conducted in partnership with the Tiger Brands Foundation, sought to understand, from the perspective of children, how they were affected by the shifts in in-school nutrition programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic. The voices of children play an important role in advocacy surrounding the importance of in-school nutrition programmes and how crucial it is to keep investing in running such programmes.

In this webinar, the CSDA team and the Food Evolution Research Laboratory (FERL) team present the findings of this research under the title:

The Effects of COVID-19 on In-school Nutrition.


Khuliso Matidza, Junior Researcher, Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg and Dr Sadiyya Haffejee, Senior Researcher, Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg, will present findings on the voices of children.

Dr Hema Kesa, Food Evolution Research Laboratory (FERL) Director, University of Johannesburg, will present findings on the nutritional value of the meals.


Dr Granville Whittle, Deputy Director-General for Sector Care and Support Services, Department of Basic Education

Karl Muller, Operations Manager, Tiger Brands Foundation

CHAIR: Prof Lauren Graham, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Development in Africa

DATE: 24 May 2023

TIME: 09:00 – 11:00

FORMAT: Hybrid

Venue: Nadine Gordimer Auditorium, Level 5, APK Library, UJ

Virtually: Please use this link to join


Please contact Jade on if you require any further assistance.


May 24, 2023

Disclaimer: The University of Johannesburg encourages academic debate and discussion that are conducted in a manner that upholds respectful interaction, safety of all involved, and freedom of association as enshrined in the law, the Constitution, and within the boundaries of the University policies. The views expressed during events are expressed in a personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Johannesburg.

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