The modified school feeding programme of the National Home Grown School Feeding was officially flagged off in Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday.
The modified school feeding programme was flagged off by the Minister, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk, Lagos State Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo as well as the Executive Chairman Lagos State Universal Basic Education, Wahab Alawiye-King.
Farouk, who was represented by Mrs. Margaret Ukegbu, Director, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDP’s in her keynote address stated that the modified school feeding programme was sequel to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs should liaise with State Government to develop strategy on the continuation of the school feeding programme.
According to the Minister, the special home grown feeding intervention will impact 37,589 beneficiaries made up of parent, guardians and care givers of primary school children in participating schools.
Farouk said ‘’The identified and selected household will each receive 5kg bag of Rice, 5kg bag of Beans, vegetable and palm oil, salt, tomato paste and 15 pieces of eggs.
“These rations have been revealed by nutrition expert to ascertain the nutritional value and benefits to the children.”
While noting that 17 countries around the world were currently employing the take home ration options, she reiterated that it was a globally acceptable means of supporting children to continue to have access to nutrition despite the disruption to the traditional channels of school feeding.
She also commended the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his uncommon commitment and engagement for making the programme a success, while also thanking the chairman of LASUBEB, Alawiye-King for his unflinching support.
Farouk noted that Lagos was chosen as one of the pilot states for the commencement of the programme due to the fact the state has been one of the states in the frontline in the battle to contain and flatten the curve of the covid-19 pandemic.
In her address, Adefisayo stated that the modified school feeding programe is a continuation of the existing home grown feeding programme of the state government in conjunction with the federal government whereby 100,000 pupils in public primary school were fed daily.
She reiterated the importance of food in the development of a child, noting that the modified feeding programme will go a long way in achieving that.
According to her ‘’when a child is growing its quite imperative that a child should have good quality balance diet in order to feed the brain and ensure that the brain grow appropriately because an hungry child cannot learn properly so looking at the take home ration its truly a balance diet.”
The Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Alawiye-King in his address stated the commencement of the distribution of the take home rations was to ensure that the hardship caused by COVID-19 was minimized while noting that a lot of work had gone into ensuring that the modified home feeding programme was carried out in a transparent and seamless manner.
According to him ‘’in a few days, all the targeted households would have received their vouchers which will enable them collect their food rations. At the end of the exercise, 37,589 Households of pupils in primary schools (pry 1-3) would have been fed.”
While thanking the federal Government for the laudable initiative, Alawiye-Wahab also expressed his gratitude to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for supporting the programme and ensuring that it was brought to fruition.
He also sought the cooperation and understanding of all stakeholders in ensuring that the food items got to the intended beneficiaries.
Giving an overview of the programme, the Special Assistant to the President on National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Mrs Titilola Adeyemi-Doro stated that the social shocks of recent global crises, especially the COVID-19 pandemic had led to enhanced and modified social protection mechanisms, including school feeding programs in low-income countries as they can serve as a safety net for food-insecure households.
She noted that the modified NHGSFP in response to COVID-19 pandemic was built on existing pillars of normal NHGSFP, where the Ministry work in synergy with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the communities on both planning and implementation.
This is to promote state leadership, ensure community engagement, and ownership. She however noted that the programme is targeted at the poorest of vulnerable households.
A cross section of the beneficiaries who were parents of the pupils thanked the Government for the laudable initiative expressing gratitude for the take home rations.
The programme will cut across 7 Local Government Areas this week while other Local Governments will be captured as from next week.