Stakeholders involved in the federal government’s school feeding program are urging for collective action to combat hunger, particularly among children.
During an event held in Abuja, Anjor Obande, the National Project Manager of the Renewed Hope National Home Grown School Feeding and the End Hunger Programme (RH-NHGSFEHP), highlighted the government’s readiness to collaborate with the Global Alliance for Improve Nutrition (GAIN) in introducing fortified rice to the school feeding program.
The project’s primary objective is to enhance and expand the number of beneficiaries of the school feeding program through partnerships across various sectors. Obande emphasized the potential of home-grown school meals, stating that through coordinated efforts and partnerships, it can significantly contribute to improving food and nutrition security in households and communities across the nation.
Furthermore, the administration of President Bola Tinubu is committed to restructuring the program in alignment with the Renewed Hope Agenda. This includes efforts to end poverty, reduce the number of out-of-school children, and eliminate malnutrition among school-age children. The recent School Meals Coalition ministerial meeting solidified the commitment to expand program beneficiaries, encompassing children in military schools, para-military schools, out-of-school children, and those in emergency settings, with the aim of achieving universal coverage by 2025.
In addition, the introduction of School Kitchens and Gardens through a Farm-to-Kitchen Initiative is being considered to enhance implementation and facilitate food system transformation.
While representing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, and the National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIPA), Hajia Halima Shehu, Obande expressed enthusiasm for a productive partnership with GAIN, particularly in relation to the national home-grown school feeding program.
Under the auspices of NSIPA and with the support of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, RH-NHGSFEHP will continue working towards achieving their respective but interconnected objectives. These objectives encompass empowering Nigerians by providing sustained access to safe and nutritious diets, thereby contributing significantly to the government’s goal of eradicating hunger and alleviating poverty.