In furtherance of the efforts to ensure best experiences of hygiene and safety during consumption of meals, the Federal Government has handed over 339,652 feeding utensils to pupils of Atiku Bagudu Primary School in Kebbi state.
According to a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja, signed by the Principal Information Officer of the Ministry, Grace Osuji, speaking at the event, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who was represented by the Director of Procurement, Bello Alkali, said the items are branded for the children to benefit from the interventions provided by the Federal Government.
She said: “The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will continue to improve on service delivery in all its social interventions, especially the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
“The interventions that will improve the effectiveness of the Programme has already commenced nationwide namely, the enumeration exercise, a refined and more transparent and accountable partnership between the Federal government and state is being finalised.
“An operational review is underway, fully supported by experts and technical partners to ensure that the program succeeds in its objectives and capitalises on gains and benefits such as women empowering, supporting the education of the girl child, creating employment, and improving inter-governmental collaboration; and the deployment of an extensive, layered and technology-supported monitoring system that will ensure real time information of how the program is being implemented and its evaluation.
“The desired reforms has been identified and strategic areas that needed review to accommodate the realities of the time have been planned out and these include; Development of Evidence Based Policy Frameworks to guide Implementation through ensuring the reliability of data especially on schools and pupils; Improving Meal Quality;Capacity Development of all actors in the value chain; Building Strategic Partnerships to achieve sustainability;Introducing support aspects on School Health and Nutrition; Strengthening Monitoring & Evaluation and impact assessment systems.”
She added: “The NHGSFP is one of the 4 clusters under the National Social Investment Program (NSIP) NPower, GEEP, CCT and NHGSFP all of which are well grounded in Kebbi State.
“The State Government, on the other hand, is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the Programme including ensuring that data on schools and pupils are authentic (in close partnership with the SUBEB & the NBS), identification and procurement of food items (in the local areas), selection of cooks/vendors (in the communities) and ensuring that the food is properly cooked and adequate portions are timely served to the pupils. .
“The designed accruable benefits of this program and its impact on the lives and livelihood of individuals, groups and communities is very clear. The number of children attending school will increase, they will perform academically better, the local women will be employed, the local farmers will sell their produce and wealth will be created and distributed within the communities, all innovatively well-coordinated to address the cross cutting issues of Out of School Children, Hunger, Malnutrition and general Poverty. .
“The NHGSFP has recorded over 9 million pupils being fed by over 100,000 Cooks nationwide. Entrepreneurship and Employment is being created within the school feeding ecosystem in sectors of women entrepreneurs, commodity transportation, farming & agricultural production and many other value-chain actors.” ..
On his part, the representative of the Governor of Kebbi State, the Commissioner for Basic Primary and Secondary Education, Alhaji Muhammadu Magawata Aliero, expressed gratitude to the Government for the gigantic stride of addressing the issue of out of school children in the country, saying the Programme has reduced the problem to the barest minimum. .
The Permanent Secretary for Budget and Planning and Basic Studies, Aisha Usman, commended the progress made in the state, urging the school management to utilise the utensils well and asked that some schools that are not currently captured in the programme should be captured. .The feeding utensils were handed over to the Kebbi State Programme Manager of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Comrade Isa A. Umar,for onward distribution to schools in the state.