National Homegrown School Feeding Programme has resumed in Kaduna State with over seven hundred thousand pupils to benefit from the free meals.
Kaduna State Focal Person, National Social Investment Programmes, Mrs Amina Atoyebi while delivering her speech at the recommencement of the School Feeding programme held at the Research Model Primary School, Kawo said the programme had resumed across the State.
Amina Atoyebi explained that, over 7000 cooks were employed to provide the meals for the pupils across the 23 local government area of the state in over 3,400 schools.
“In an unprecedented manner and in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus, schools in Kaduna were closed in March 2020. The closure automatically put a halt to the programme. While still grappling with COVID challenges, schools were later closed due to the ongoing security operations being conducted”.
She expressed delight that, pupils are not only able to resume their academic activities but are also to benefit from the social safety-net which has been afforded them by the Government.
Mrs Amina Atoyebi pointed out that, Kaduna State Government used the period of school closures to form accountability groups of mothers in several schools which is called the Kaduna Mothers for Accountability (KM4A) Group.
She said the group is a voluntary association of self-motivated mothers of pupils in the same school who will work together to hold the cooks to account and ensure that the quality and standards of the school feeding programme are maintained.
“They have been trained with support from the McArthur Foundation through ActionAid Nigeria and the other cohorts working in the State to handle minor infractions and scale up more serious issues to the Social Investment Office as required”.
She maintained that, they are currently conducting medical screening for the cooks to ensure that, they are all fit to provide the sensitive service of feeding the pupils.
Amina Atoyebi further stated that, the State Government in collaboration with Partnership for Child Development (PCD) had successfully conducted a menu standardization and handy measures training which was aimed at ensuring that meals prepared met the required nutrient intake.
According to her, the State Government has now established a call centre where those who wish to report issues on the programme can do so by expressing their grievances.
Kaduna State Focal Person, National Social Investment Programmes added that, Governor Nasiru Elrufai recognizes and appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government for shouldering the responsibility of feeding children in the State and is committed to strengthening and guaranteeing that the programme succeeds.
The National Homegrown School Feeding Programme is one of the flagship Social Investment Programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which was designed with the multiple objectives of improving enrolment of children in primary schools, improving the nutritional status of the pupils, providing employment to the women who provide meals and enhancing the potentials of small-holder farmers within communities.