School Feeding Programme: Nigeria to develop Inclusive Policy

Rahila Lassa, Abuja

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The Nigerian Government has taken a step further to develop an inclusive policy on the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme NHGSFP with support from the World Food Programme WFP.

 

National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme, Dr Umar Bindir, stated this at the ongoing Policy Consultation workshop on School Feeding Programme in Abuja, Nigeria.

 

According to Bindir, the workshop is to ensure that the Programme is sustainable, measurable and impactful in line with the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

He further said that the programme is a continuation of the deliberate strategy of the national social investment Programme to institutionalize the cluster.

 

“As we speak, we are feeding an average of 10m children with a potential that that number will be increase to 11 – 12 million children in probably next few weeks or months and as a feeding rate approved by Mr President of 100 naira, our bill monthly is within the range of 12 to 13 billion naira. It is very expensive and formidable Programme; attracting students to attend school, ensuring children are healthy, children of the poor and vulnerable attending school longer and pass exams better”, he said.

 

The Programme has drawn participants from the academia, NGOs, MDAs and private actors.

 

 “I am expecting that at the end of the day when this process is concluded, we will get a document that talks the process of implementing the Home Grown school Feeding Programme in Nigeria that is not only feeding children, that is not only building capacity of women in rural area, that is not just encouraging children to pass in mathematics and English, but is also encouraging small scale farmers to produce more, to encourage processors in rural communities to do more. So, this is an all encompassing package and I’m sure the policy will capture all these”, Bindir added.

 

Strengthening the programme
The Country Director, UN WFP Nigeria Mr Ronald Sibanda said the need to develop a School Feeding policy came following a joint assessment that was conducted in 2021.

 

Represented at the workshop by Head, Capacity strengthening and Policy Development, Do-Hwan Kim, Sibanda noted that the policy will also identify existing gaps and define short-term and long-term recommendations to address these gaps and strengthen the program  further.

 

“This policy development process will take into account, broad considerations that would benefit the NHGSFP as it is being implemented across multiple geographies in Nigeria. This policy will serve as a foundation for the success and sustainability of the NHGSFP and will remain as a guiding document that ensures continued investment from national and sub-national stakeholders beyond any singular political dispensation. This policy development workshop serves as an inclusive process ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders who are expected to take ownership of responsibilities that will be defined in the policy”, he explained

 

Sibanda further stated that WFP is also working with Nigeria to achieve SDGs 2, which aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture through effective partnerships, knowledge sharing and capacity strengthening.

 

Cognitive development
The Director General, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Oonalo Akpa, said the role of the Association is to ensure that the ‘an egg per day’ plan is included in the meal of the children.

 

“The school Feeding Programme is very critical to the socioeconomic development of the country especially for our children in the junior primary school. The essence is to have the best nutrition that will encourage school enrolment and also help in the cognitive development of the skills of the children”, Akpa emphasised

 

He added that the Association will also ensure that the required quantity and quality of eggs are supplied to the schools.

 

 

Nneka Ukachukwu

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