Sani Muhammad Sani
Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has organised a two-day workshop with stakeholders and industry experts to review cost of feeding per child in the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
The workshop, held in Abuja Wednesday, was aimed at reflecting the current economic realities in the country, which has reportedly affected the implementation of the NHGSFP in states across the nation.
The stakeholders, drawn from across the country, were tasked to deliberate on the present N70 cost of meal per pupil, make appropriate recommendations on the possible cost of meal per child then suggest possible alternative sources for funding.
Addressing journalists at the workshop, Head of Catering, Federal Ministry of Education, Katrina Adamu, said that the workshop is aimed at sustaining the gains of the school feeding programme and improving on lapses observed in the implementation.
She said: “We are still on it. We’ve not finished, but as I have seen, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have not really gotten it right. We are still working to actualize the dream for the indigent children in this country to enjoy.
“The food shared in the school feeding programme attracts children to school and encourages high school attendance. As there is food waiting for the children whenever they come to school, they will always be excited to go there. What we are doing now is to try to see if they get the right food and the right temperature to help the children nutritionally in growing up and take them off the street.
“The program is aimed at helping the parents too at home, who cannot afford feeding the children. So, it is a kind of relief. If the facilitators take our suggestions, they will get there. They need to involve the right people in the right places, so that this programme can stand the test of time.”
Other measures initiated by the ministry to scale up the NHGSFP is training of focal persons on recommended dietary requirements for creating menu, engagement of quality control officers to supervise and train cooks, revision of menu to reflect local availability, optimisation of food procurement budget against prices and value of all available food items, among others.