Nigerian Government Launches Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in Bayelsa

Rahila Lassa, Abuja 

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The Nigerian Government has launched the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in Bayelsa State, South of the country aimed at increasing enrollment of pupils in primary schools in the state.

The programme was launched by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The Minister who was represented by the  Director, Legal Services of the Ministry, Barrister Garba Haganawega, said that globally, School Feeding Programmes are increasingly being recognized as critical social protection interventions.

“Since they benefit vulnerable groups including children, their families, and communities. In Nigeria, the NHGSFP is a safety net for over 10 million children across thousands of communities and a lifeline for income generation for thousands of people,” she said.

The Minister disclosed that the key objectives of the NHGSFP are to increase school enrolment, attendance and retention, improve the nutritional and health status of school children, and job creation by stimulating local agricultural production and the local economy, and provide empowerment opportunities for the cooks, thereby contributing to the promotion of food security for vulnerable households in Nigeria.

Farouq further revealed that the aim was to strengthen, sustain and scale up the programme to 13 million beneficiaries by 2023 which is geared towards contributing to the vision of Mr. President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 having previously onboarded 35 States and FCT.

She noted that Bayelsa State having fulfilled the conditions for onboarding unto the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, and signed the Memorandum of Understanding, is ready to onboard the programme, stating that the state is joining the programme with a total number of 59,113 Pupils in 599 schools and 1,217 cooks across the 8 LGAs.

She disclosed that the Ministry has provided 59,113 feeding utensils for the use of pupils on the program in Bayelsa State, to ensure that these free school meals are being provided under hygienic and favourable conditions,

The Minister appealed for the good utilisation of the items for the betterment and benefit of the children.

She announced that with the onboarding of Bayelsa state into the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme has now fully covered 36 States and the  FCT.

She assured stakeholders of the quality service delivery of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in the State.

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Education, Dr Gentle E. Emelah, said the programme came at a time the current administration is transiting but appreciated the President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the NSIP Act to be an agency for continuity of the programme.

The Governor disclosed that the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme will improve school enrollment in the State.

In his votes of thanks the National Social Investment Programme’s Focal Person of the state, Emmanuel Benson, thanked the Federal government for its humanitarian interventions, and he also warmly appreciated President Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for launching the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in the state.

The State Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Johnson E. Heefor, appreciated the federal government for making the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme a reality in the State, stating that the programme is long overdue.

The high points of the event were presentations of letters of engagement to the cooks as well as cooking utensils to the representative of the Governor and the State Focal Person.





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