The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has trained 12 cooks from the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Addressing reporters at the event, the Programme Manager, FCT School Feeding Programme, Mr Kudu Dangana, said the training will help cooks in the programme to train others in preparing hygienic food for children and to improve on their nutrition.
He said: “Presently, we have trained 728 cooks in the FCT and we are still trying to do more, because the school feeding programme has four objectives, including to ensure increased enrolment in school, to add nutritional value, increase agricultural production and to create job opportunities for the people doing nothing in the villages. Through this venture, a lot of people have been employed. 728 cooks have been employed in the FCT and more are still coming.
“As for the training we are doing now, because of the time and the essence, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, in conjunction with the FCT has come up with a policy that this people should be trained and we now came up with the idea that two cooks will be selected from two area councils in the FCT. That makes it 12 cooks from 6 area councils. They will now go back and train others in the area councils.
“After the training, we will visit them in the area councils to see what they have achieved. Every school cannot be captured, depending on the situation on ground. As of the time we were recruiting, some schools were not functional. However, after the recruitment, many schools came to be. That is why we are recruiting more so that every school will be captured. The Minister of State has assured that every child will be carried along in the FCT. We are making an effort to capture primary 4 to 6 pupils in the programme. We had 497 schools in the FCT benefiting from the programme, but the record is increasing.”
Also speaking, the Managing Consultant/Principal Everything Hospitality and Tourism Services, Mr Obinna Ugochukwu Alexander Onyeocha, said that the training is particularly important for the beneficiaries as a result of the delicate nature of dealing with children.
He said: “The NSIP helps us to understand the nitty-gritty of the school feeding programme. When working with a cook, there are things he/she should understand. It is not just about entering the kitchen to cook. They need to understand the aspect that covers the hygiene, the environment, the maintenance, the procurement activities, which has to do with food costing and understanding the financial implication of what you are going to do. You need to understand all the risks involved in feeding children. You need to understand the food menu and method of production. You are dealing with children and it is not all food they should eat.
“There are foods that are important at their level for nutrition. We should also understand that there is a reason the federal government introduced this programme, which is to bridge the gap of malnutrition. In this training, we will expose the learners to the activities so that they can go home and retrain others involved in the programme. There is an expectation they may have to meet to justify this programme.“