The Nigerian government says it will revisit the school feeding initiative to boost the enrolment of pupils in the elementary schools.
The supervising minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, who was speaking at a technical meeting held on Home Grown School Feeding Initiative in Abuja, said it was imperative for the government to resuscitate the initiative to re-awaken the interest of state governments and other stakeholders.
“Government target is to achieve the secondary objective which is accelerating the attainment of gender equality in education, increase girl child enrolment, retaining and completing basic education as well as building and strengthening capacity for effective community involvement and participation in school management,” he said.
“After the launch of the Home grown school feeding initiative in 2012 by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, government thought it’s crucial to revisit the home grown school feeding to increase enrolment of school children and help children of poor parents to feed well in school…The initiative is to reduce school absenteeism and improve the health status of school pupils,” Wike explained.
The representative of the World Bank, Don Bundy, said Nigeria was serious about developing its National School Feeding Programme.
“The successful implementation of the initiative in elementary schools will position Nigeria as a nation feeding 1/5th of the numbers of children in Africa,’’ Bundy, who was also the keynote speaker at the occasion, stated.
He, however, stressed that the programme could only be successfully implemented through multi-sectoral approach.
“The approach requires other sectors like Health and Agriculture to be directly and consciously linked to the school feeding programme in a way that the food needed to feed the children will be home grown. The benefit of the initiative is that it will help develop pupils’ nutrition and health, boost agriculture and improve the economy as it will create job and give opportunity to citizens to participate in school management,” he said.
The executive director of Partnership for Child development, Lesley Drick, identified good governance as the key factor to the successful implementation of the feeding initiative in Nigeria.
The Home Grown School Feeding Initiative is a government driven initiative through the partnership for child development.
It is currently running in over 50 countries across the world.