Home-grown School Feeding programme launched in Enugu
February 7, 2006

The federal government says the home-grown School Feeding and Health Programme will accelerate efforts to achieve education for all by the year 2015.

The Minister of Education Mrs. Chinwe Obaji who announced this at the flag off of the programme in Enugu State said that it was designed to ultimately wipe out the scourge of illiteracy and under development from the land.

According to the Minister, the programme is a worthwhile investment guaranteed to produce healthy and knowledge based Nigerians fort the development of an enduring nation, enhance nutritional status of the children and improve their welfare.

Mrs. Obaji commended the state governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, for his foresight in initiating the School Meal Plus Programme for Enugu State school children two years ago and called for all hands on deck to ensure its sustenance.

The programme which is similar to the school Meal Plus Programme, a brain child of the Governor Chimaroke Nnamani in Enugu State, is a holistic education programme geared towards proving one balanced meal and other health care to children in public primary school and junior secondary schools daily.

In his speech, the state governor Chimaroke Nnamani described the programme as a continuation of what his government initiated two years ago under its School Meal Plus programme.

According to the Governor, the programme which is being executed in partnership with the DFID and UNICEF under the government’s reform package will provide a balanced meal, vitamin supplements and other health care to the school children in the state.

The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Chief Okechukwu Itanyi, described education as the biggest industry in the state adding that government was committed to the provision of qualitative and affordable education to her citizenry.

Governor Nnamani pledged his government's commitment to the success and sustenance of the programme in the state as it would help reduce poverty, empower the people and above all improve the welfare and health care of the children.

Also the state Commissioner for Education Dr. Martin Chukwunweike in his address recounted the success story of the state’s School Meal Plus Programme in the past two years.

According to the Commissioner, “we started with 20 schools in 3 Local Government Areas and due to improvement in school enrolment and retention, we extended it to 70 schools in 9 local government Areas.”

Dr. Chukwunweike disclosed that impact assessment of the programme has shown that children in schools with School Meal Plus Programme (SMPP) stayed out of school much less than those without SMPP, adding that it has motivated more children to be regular and punctual to school.

He announced that all the necessary frameworks were in place, adding that Local Government Areas and communities have been involved, all the needed committees set up, while the bill to give legal backing to the programme will soon go to the State House of Assembly.

The chairman, Governing Board of Universal Basic Education Commission, Prof. Anezi Okoro, in his message pointed out that in line with its traditional leadership role, Enugu State had initiated their programme under the title "School Meal Plus" pilot project on a sound scientific basis of the school pupils involved being put on the supervised prepared mid day meals, while monitoring their growth school attendance and class performance.

Prof. Okoro described the home-grown Feeding and Health programme as worthy investment in the future of the children and stressed the need for capacity building to produce good teachers that would help the children acquire good knowledge, life skills and character training.

Highlight of the ceremony was the feeding of the children by the Deputy Governor and the Hon. Minister.


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