5 million more pupils to benefit from home school feeding programme, Minister ... Special adviser to Abia State Governor comments
An additional 5 million batch of vulnerable pupils and out of school children may soon benefit from the Federal Government's social investment programme.
The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), is a component part of its National Social Investment Plans (NSIPs) to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children across the country.
currently more than 8.4 million pupils in 56,000 public primary schools in 35 states across Nigeria have benefited from the programme.
The minister Federal Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadia Umar Farouq, revealed this during the opening ceremony of the "4th annual review of the National Home School Feeding programme on Monday, in Abuja.
She stated that while outlining the achievements of the recommendations made in the previous year during NHGSFP 2019 review by the participants.
The minister noted with all pleasure that "It is therefore my pleasure to inform you that we have heeded your recommendations, recorded appropriate progress"
"Since the programmes were transferred to the ministry, we have had continuous engagements with all state programme officials and have assigned desk officers to each of the clusters within the ministry, whom you have been liaising with for many months.
"We have continued to engage and collaborate with state governors on the implementation of the programmes. The ministry is also working with federal and state MDAs, INGOs and NGOs to evolve policies that would support the institutionalisation of the social investment programs in the nation.
The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme is an important intervention because of the multiple wins it is capable of delivering. It is a vehicle for reducing hunger, promoting educational gains, health status improvement and economic stimulation. Such programmes are recognized as positive indicators for countries who are on track to achieve sustainable development.
“The long term benefits to our children and the future of the nation cannot be overemphasized. Thus we must resolve to remain steadfast in ensuring that this program reaches its objective and improves the lives of its beneficiaries,” she noted.
"We have restructured the GEEP program and other NSIPs to align them with our mandate of providing fair focused social inclusion programmes to the vulnerable in Nigeria.
“Furthermore, the FCT has been included in the school feeding programme, while Kwara State is set to commence feeding in a few months time. The NHGSFP will soon launch a capacity building exercise for vendors and enumeration of all beneficiaries on the programme.
“Plans have been concluded for the exit and transition of the N-Power Batch A & B through the creation of the NEXIT portal, which would allow those who choose, to sign up to access other government empowerment opportunities.
"A beneficiary management system for the NSIPs is expected to be deployed in 2021, which would have the capacity to manage payments, address grievances and improve the dissemination of information.
“Additionally, you are aware that Mr President has approved the expansion of the NSIPs, as part of his vision to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. Thus the NHGSFP is to reach an additional five million pupils including children in non-conventional educational settings.
The N-Power programme is to create jobs for a total of one million beneficiaries, while the GEEP program will provide loans to an additional one million traders, farmers and market people.
“The social register is also being expanded to accommodate an additional one million households. We have also launched the rural women grant, which will reach women in 36 States of the Federation and the FCT.
“As part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, the Shock Responsive Social Register is to be launched, which would provide grants funds to one million identified vulnerable persons in urban areas.
In related interview Special Adviser on Social Investment & Intergovernmental Affairs to Abia State Governor, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu,who applauded the implementation of the National Home Grown School Feeding programme in Abuja State.
He said "It has also expanded our enrolment, we started with a little below 300,000 pupils but now we are close to 600,000. Now children know that there’s a meal waiting for them when they arrive at schools. It has also improved learning outcomes, improve nutritional indices. Of course, it also impacted positively on those who deal in agricultural products because it’s called homegrown school feeding, all of the things in the menu are sourced locally from the State.
"You know the governor of Abia State had earlier launched this programme before the Federal Government expanded the programme to us. So in Abia, we are feeding from Primary 1 to 6. The Federal Government feeds from Primary 1 to 3, Abia is feeding from Primary 4 to 6 because of the understanding we have around this programme. We believe this programme has reverse enrolment from private school to public school."