The Deputy Minister for Gender, Children & Social Protection, Hon. Mrs. Dela Sowah, has commended Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA) for the success of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) in the municipality. She made the commendation at a programme to mark the first edition of the celebration of the “Africa Day for School Feeding” at Kwabenya M/A Basic Schools in the Ga East Municipality.
1st March, every year, has been set aside as “Africa Day for School Feeding”, to celebrate the success of the implementation of the School Feed Programme while taking stalk of the challenges facing the programme to improve and sustain it.
The GSFP is an initiative by the Government of Ghana introduced in September, 2005 to support efforts in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN-MDGs) on hunger, poverty and primary education and a response to Pillar 3 of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
The programme was also initiated to reduce short term hunger and malnutrition in school children, increase school enrolment, attendance and retention as well asboost domestic food production.
About 30 schools are on the GSFP in the Ga East Municipality with 18 caterers servicing the schools. Previously, the Assembly funded 3 schools and 3 caterers through its Internally Generated Fund (IGF). However, they are currently being absorbed onto the national programme.
The GEMA MCE, Hon. John Kwao Sackey, speaking at a brief ceremony to mark the “Africa Day for School Feeding”, disclosed the secret for the success of the programme in the municipality.
“In the Ga East, in order to support and sustain the Ghana School Feeding Programme, we put in place a very strong Association of the Caterers and we interact with them so when there are problems, sometimes, we meet and share ideas and that has helped us to sustain this particular programme”.
He said the implementation of the programme had been an eye-opener to many and even attracted foreign attention including Bill Gates, Owner of Microsoft, who visited the municipality on his 2-day private visit to Ghana in 2013.
Hon. Kwao Sackey appealed to the national secretariat of the GSFP to involve all the stakeholders, especially caterers and school children whenever there is the need make any changes with respect to the meals served.
The MCE said the Assembly considers prioritizes the programme and would ensure that it is improved and sustained.
The Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP), Hon. Dela Sowah, expressed delight about the occasion and the success story of the programme in Ghana and noted government’s determination to improve and sustain the programme.
She commended the Ga East example of the implementation of the programme and recommended other MMDA’s to emulate them.
Ms. Mutinta Chimuka, Representative of World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted the objectives of the programme and stressed the need for its sustenance to address short term hunger and malnutrition in school children, increase school enrolment, attendance and retention, and boost domestic food production.
She noted, with concern, the potential of the programme to increase enrolment of girls into school and help prevent early girl-child marriages and advised parents and guardians to take advantage of the programme to encourage their children to enroll and be punctual at school.
The Coordinator of the GSFP, Mr. Patrick Acheampong said his outfit will continue to collaborate with all partner organizations and local stakeholders to ensure the success and sustenance of the programme.
Partnership for Child Development (PCD), one of the international partners of the GSFP, was represented at the function by its Country Programmes Manager, Ms. Gertrude Ananse-Baiden.
Also present at the function were the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Mr. Martin Dassah and Municipal Director of Education (MDE), Ms. Florence Esi Damali.
By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman