By Elizabeth Uwandu
THE Federal Government’s National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP, currently in 20 states of the federation, has been projected to become the largest school feeding initiative in Africa as plans are underway to cover the entire 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
This was revealed by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection, Mrs. Maryam Uwais in a recent interview.
Uwais said, “As at August last year (2017), the Federal Government spent N6.2 billion on the school feeding programme in 14 states. This has encouraged increase in school attendance across the country as the programme is also designed to improve school enrollment and completion.
“The NHGSFP has served 246 million meals. We are in about 60,000 schools around the country. Government wants to expand the programme to 36 states as this will ensure about 24 million children in 36 states and the FCT get fed, making the school feeding programme the largest in Africa.”
The programme also provides jobs for farmers, cooks and transporters, many of whom are parents of the children being fed.
The school feeding programme has many benefits, one being that trained nutritionists are involved in structuring a balanced diet for the children while they are able to concentrate on learning as hunger is no longer a distraction.
Mrs. Uwais, in her strive to increase public awareness and knowledge of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) comprising four initiatives, recently met with journalists in Lagos at a ‘Media Immersion.’
The four programmes are: National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP); Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP) to provide zero interest loans for over 1.2 million Nigerian artisans; N-Power, a job creation and youth employment programme which targets 500,000 unemployed graduates; and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) designed to support one million of the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians.