Ghana marks African Day of School Feeding at Elavanyo

Date: Sunday March 10, 2019, 1:38 pm

The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) continues to attract interests from millions of Ghanaian children of school going age, especially in the deprived communities to enroll in school.

 The Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education have over the years trumpeted and testified that the GSFP has been the reason why majority of children have enrolled and continue to stay in school. This is because the children are assured of their daily nutritiously balanced meal which their parents usually could not afford or provide. 

Close to three million pupils from 9,495 deprived schools are currently benefiting from the GSFP which represents 62% coverage of deprived schools in Ghana. The programme has also employed over 9,700 caterers and 19,400 cooks across the country.  

This means the purpose of the GSFP which is to increase school enrollment and retention, fight hunger and malnutrition among pupils, and also fight poverty is not far from its actualization. 
Several civil society organisations and school administrators are even still advocating for GSFP to cover all basic schools in the country (from Kindergarten to Junior High School) in order to benefit all pupils. Unfortunately however, the Ghana School Feeding Programme WatchGhana.Com has uncovered is faced with numerous challenges at its current state, in spite of its huge benefits to the country. The problems of school feeding include; the lack of modern cooking space (kitchen), eating space (dining hall, dining tables and chairs, freezers to store left over food items and others. In most of the beneficiary schools, pupils are compelled to enjoy their meals in classrooms, which most at times soils their books and teachers have to suspend teaching until the rooms are tidied up. Others also eat under trees and on bare floors.
This situation has created much discomfort to caterers and school authorities for some time now. Speaking in an interview with WatchGhana.Com at Elavanyo in the Ada East District on the occasion of the African Day of the School Feeding, the National Operations Director of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Madam Doris W. Gaba confirmed that many schools had expressed interest to be included in the programme. She revealed that Government already had plans to achieve a 100% coverage so that no school going child from a deprived home is left behind or dropped out of school because his or her parents cannot afford to cater for their food needs in school. Madam Gaba expressed the need for support for Government in the implementation of the school feeding programme, Saying, “Government alone can only do its best, which might not be enough”. She said that it was time all Ghanaian citizens including Chiefs, local assemblies, religious organisations, community based and civil society organisations saw themselves as major stakeholders and own the school feeding programme so that it could be sustained and expanded”. The National Operations Director believes the School Feeding Programme could be better managed and become more attractive, if local assemblies, traditional authorities and religious organisations could play significant roles by supporting government or beneficiary schools in their communities with kitchen and dining spaces.
The Acting National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Dr. Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah recounted that the school feeding programme was first piloted in Ghana at Elavanyo Basic School in the Ada East District in 2005. She was over joyed how far the school feeding programme which started in a small community of Elavanyo had reached and benefiting millions of deprived children nationwide, but believed there was still room for improvement. Dr. Mrs. Quashigah said the vision of school feeding programme from the very beginning was to use at least 70 to 80% of farmers produce to encourage agriculture, to eradicate hunger from the community especially among pupils, increase enrollment and create more jobs for people. She said that commemorating the African Day of the School Feeding at Elavanyo was to do some retrospection for recommendations and improvement going forward. On the occasion, the beneficiary pupils enjoy sumptuous Ghana jollof rice prepared under strict supervision of the national officers of the GSFP. The children were also provided with oranges, kalyppo and biscuits as well as new eating bowls.

Source: WatchGhana.Com

Author: WatchGhana.Com    Verified


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