Nigeria’s first national Home Grown School Feeding programme, which would affect about 5.5million Nigerians in the first year of its operation would be rolling out soon in several states, preceded by a Stakeholders Forum holding in Aso Rock on Thursday. It will be addressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Now in the final rounds of preparation for the commencement of the free school feeding programme for primary school pupils, the federal and state governments will review the Strategic Plan for the rollout of the scheme which is part of the N500billion Social Investment plans of the Buhari presidency.
The strategic plan, according to Vice President’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, runs until 2020 and forms the cornerstone of the nationwide Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme which when fully realized will provide a nutritious hot meal a day to over 24 million primary school children.
HGSF programmes provide free school meals procured from local farmers. These programmes offer a ‘win-win-win’ for children, farmers and communities alike.
Children benefit from hot nutritionally balanced school meals which reduce hunger and improve education outcomes; farmers benefit from improved access to school feeding markets and communities benefit from new catering, processing and food handling jobs.
According to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo “not only will the Home Grown School Feeding programme help our pupils become better students, it will also boost the local economies, and create new jobs along the way.”
To achieve national coverage, the federal government is working in partnership with states and local communities for the successful implementation of the HGSF programme.
Equally to support the process, the federal government is working with key technical partners to capitalize upon global experience and adopt best practices. One such partner is the UK’s Imperial College, London’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD) which is providing technical assistance to the Presidency.
The forum will have in attendance Governors of Borno, Oyo, Osun, Enugu and Kaduna, and other government representatives and stakeholders from all 36 Nigerian States as well as developmental partners. The forum which is also an advocacy event will provide the opportunity for state teams and their partners to model their school feeding plans within the national HGSF framework.
Besides the strategic plan, the Vice President will also launch the ‘Global School Feeding Sourcebook: Lessons from 14 countries’, a joint Partnership for Child Development, the World Bank and World Food Programme analysis of national school feeding programmes from across the globe.