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FCTA flags off school feeding programme for 120,300 pupils

3rd Feb, 2020 |  By Victoria Agorom and Olalekan Jimoh | ||

The long-awaited school feeding programme in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has finally commenced. Speaking in Karu, Abuja, during flag-off ceremony of the programme last week, Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, said that a total of 120,300 pupils across the six Area Councils of the Territory would benefit from the FCT Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Aliyu observed that the programme was designed to improve the health and educational outcomes of public primary school pupils, stressing that the programme links local farmers to the education sector by facilitating their access to the school feeding market. She assured that all stakeholders, parents, teachers, traditional and community leaders who are the programme's gatekeepers, and the vendors who would prepare the meals would be carried along in the full implementation of the initiative.

According to her, to ensure efficient service delivery, a feedback mechanism involving the head teachers, health teachers and class teachers of each school has been put in place as well as a process of training the listed officers in each school. She said: "The programme is targeting about 120,300 pupils that will be drawn from 626 public primary schools across the six Area Councils of the FCT. Henceforth, pupils will be fed once daily with meals containing the six required nutrients from primary one to three.

"I want to assure you that all stakeholders, parents, teachers, traditional and community leaders who are the gatekeepers and the vendors who will prepare the meals, will be carried along in the full implementation of this programme." The Minister, who specifically stated that the programme in FCT is for pupils in Local Education Authority (LEA)-run schools however called on community leaders and stakeholders in the Territory to assist the Federal Government lift burdens off indigent parents who could not afford balanced diet for their wards.

Earlier, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk noted that the Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government were designed to achieve the national objectives of reducing poverty and taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by creating opportunities, increasing resilience, promoting equity and stimulating growth in the country. Farouk added that the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme is one of the four cardinal programmes of National Social Investment Programme, stressing that the school programme main objective is to provide one nutritious, balanced meal on each school day to pupils in classes 1 to 3 in public primary schools across the country.

She stated: "The programme is designed to increase enrolment rates by mopping up the huge numbers of out-of-school children in Nigeria. As part of the value chain, the programme also empowers the cooks and provides a sustainable income for small holder farmers, thereby stimulating growth and productivity around communities in the states."

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