With an increasing number of families experiencing financial trouble in the Netherlands, in September 2022, the Dutch parliament voted to allocate €100 million for free school meals in vulnerable neighbourhoods across the country. After the proposal was approved, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science selected the Netherlands Red Cross and the “Jeugdeducatiefonds” (Youth Education Fund) as partners to realize this project. The program commenced in March 2023, and is expected to run until December 2024 with the goal to provide as many children in need as possible with regular, nutritious meals so they can go to school with optimal health, wellbeing and focus. This is done in close cooperation between the three partners and through a variety of methods, tailored to the participating schools.
While the Jeugdeducatiefonds ensures the distribution of meals at school, the Netherlands Red Cross is responsible for providing grocery cards to participating parents, with which they can buy food for their children. Due to the anonymous – and autonomous – nature of this solution, the Netherlands Red Cross aims to reduce levels of shame and stigma around the topic of not being able to afford food by providing dignified assistance while safeguarding users’ personal information. With these guiding principles in mind, 510, the data and digital initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross, provides the digital set-up of the program, focused on delivering high-quality cash assistance at scale through an integration of various information management systems. This case study addresses the particularities of this technical set-up in context of the School Meals program, including the results it has yielded so far, and options for National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other organizations to replicate the set-up within their own contexts.
Cash and Voucher Assistance at Scale: Addressing Food Insecurity by Supporting Families in the Netherlands
We want to hear from you!
If you are interested in incorporating any of the products mentioned in this case study into your National Society’s or organization’s work, please reach out to:
School Meals Program Manager: Daniel Steinmann firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Engagement and Accountability:
Digital Engagement Hub (DEH) and Helpful Information as Aid web-app (HIA): Jonath Lijftogt email@example.com