Matilda received her Master of Public Health degree in 2010 from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Human Nutrition (focus on International Nutrition) from McGill University, Canada in 2015. Her doctoral research focused on addressing local childhood undernutrition by building the capacity of health personnel in outreach growth monitoring services in a rural district in Ghana. Dr Laar's research interests focus on maternal and childhood undernutrition, nutrition education in health systems, the role of agriculture in the food security of mothers and children, and the nutrition of households affected by maternal HIV in rural populations.
School feeding is among the most universal forms of nutrition intervention, aiming to improve both health and educational outcomes of children. This study combines measurement of program impacts on schoolchildren with effects on local agriculture, using anthropometric and academic data on beneficiary children combined with procurement and farm data from agricultural suppliers. Interactions with farmers are measured using indicators developed by the World Food Programme for their local procurement activities, which are applied here for the first time to school procurement. The study aims to develop a single evaluation matrix from farm procurement to child nutrition, enabling school feeding programs to monitor performance and train staff to reach both objectives cost-effectively.