The World Food Programme (WFP), an agency of the United Nations, has hailed the Nigerian government for its investment in its National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), describing it as the best in Africa.
The agency said it is partnering with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) to provide ICT equipment including tablets, towards promoting nutrition education and better eating habits in the next stage of the feeding programme.
The tablets, it said, will provide access to the PLUS Schools Menus, a free tool to help nutrition officers design nutritious menus for schools.
A statement jointly signed by Halima Oyelade of FMHADMSD, and Chi Lael, of the WFP said the outcome of a joint assessment of the programme prompted the decision for the technical support.
The statement read in part: “The hardware will not only support the Ministry’s efforts to digitalise its monitoring and evaluation system, but also enable the national roll out of the PLUS School Menu Tool developed by WFP to standardise cost-effective menu development.
“This decision results from a joint assessment conducted in the first quarter of 2021 to identify ways of improving, scaling-up and sustaining the NHGSFP.
Speaking on the technical support to be provided, WFP’s country director, Ronald Sibanda, said one of the best ways of fighting malnutrition among children is the provision of a healthy school meal.
PIC. 3. A CROSS-SECTION OF PUPILS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT EDUCATION AUTHORITY PRIMARY SCHOOL, ALIYU MAKAMA AREA OF BARNAWA, DURING INAUGURATION OF FREE FEEDING PROGRAMME IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS, IN KADUNA MONDAY (18/1/16). 0267/18/1/2016/SP/BJO/NAN
A file photo of the school feeding programme
He commended the country for the initiative, saying “this is a great initiative and WFP is very pleased to provide technical support for the Government of Nigeria.”
He added: “Nigeria is a good example of where the Government has taken the lead from day one and invested resources and funding into the design and implementation of its National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.”
9.8million annual beneficiaries
The school feeding programme, which was introduced by the government in 2016, was according to the government, aimed at establishing “a safety net for the poor, increasing enrollment, and eradicating malnutrition in school-age children while also stimulating the national agricultural economy.”
According to the joint assessment report of the programme, approximately 9.8 million students in 53,000 public primary schools nationwide are benefitting from the programme annually.
It added that employment has been created for more than 107,000 people who serve as cooks.
“Being an important intervention of the current administration, and fully funded by the federal government, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said the technical support from WFP is timely, adding that her ministry will ensure the sustainability of the programme,” the statement said.
“We at the FMHADMSD are here to ensure that this programme is strengthened and sustained so that it can continue to support the needs of the children, families, women and communities it targets. The technical support from the World Food Programme is therefore timely, relevant and well appreciated,” the minister said.
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