The Kaduna state government has announced the resumption of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

The State Focal Person, National Social Intervention Programme, Mrs Amina Atoyobi disclosed that Kaduna state has over 730,000 pupils in primary school benefiting from the programme, while over 7,000 cooks were employed across the 23 Local Government Areas to cook for 3400 schools.

According to her, the Covid-19 pandemic had caused a multi-faceted toll not only to the state but the entire globe and that by government’s resolve to curtail the spread, schools in Kaduna were closed which automatically put a halt to the programs.

“Subsequently, school closure was extended due to the security operation conducted in Kaduna. In spite of the disruptions, the State is continuing with the school feeding program across the State. For many pupils, it is the only decent meal that they get to eat daily.“

Mrs Atoyobi explained that the state government had through the efforts of the school feeding multi-sectoral team, used the period of school closure to form an accountability group of mothers in several schools which is referred to as “Kaduna Mothers for Accountability Group”.

According to her, “The group is a voluntary association of self-motivated mothers of pupils in the school who would work together to hold the cooks to account and ensure that the quality and standard of the school feeding program is maintained.

“They have been trained with the support of the MacArthur foundation through Action Aid Nigeria and other cohorts working in the State to handle minor infractions and scale up more serious issues to the social investment office as required.“

Mrs Atoyobi further stated that many of the mothers have several children in the public schools and are concerned about seeing their children benefit optimally from the program.

“The State government is collaborating with the Gates Foundation to deepen financial inclusion amongst the cooks and also explore creative ways to improve the financial literacy and business acumen of the cooks. Medical screening is also being conducted on the cooks to ensure they are fit to provide the necessary service of feeding the pupils.“

She further disclosed that the government has also conducted menu standardization and handy measures training aimed at ensuring that the meals meet required reference nutrients intake and for the meals to taste the same across the board adding that, a call centre has been established where people can report issues on the program, saying, through the call centre, grievances can be addressed promptly by professionals who will ensure issues are resolved.

“The Governor recognizes and appreciates the efforts of the Federal government as shouldering the responsibility of feeding school children in the State and that he is committed to ensuring that the program succeeds.”