Why Nigeria will be celebrating on Africa's Day of School Feeding

Plateau School MealsOn the 1st March, the continent of Africa joins together to mark the Africa Day of School Feeding. A day when countries celebrate and acknowledge the impact that providing a school meal can have on the health, education and wealth of communities up and down the continent.

One place where this celebration will be felt most keenly is in Nigeria. A country whose government has developed, implemented and funded one of the largest and most ambitious school feeding programmes ever attempted in Africa.

Launched in 2016, the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme has grown quickly to provide hot, nutritionally balanced school meals to over 7 million children every school day.

This growth is the product of US$ 61 million invested each year by the Nigerian Government as part of wider National Social Investment Programme designed to support economically challenged and vulnerable groups across the country.

The HGSF programme which uses food procured from local smallholder farmers has been described as a 'win-win-win' for the communities who are engaged with the programme. School children benefit from free nutritionally balanced hot meals; local agricultural economies benefit from being able to supply the schools with the ingredients used in the meals; and local communities benefit from the employment opportunities provided by the programme - over 72,000 cooks have been trained and hired as part of the Nigerian programme.

Under the guidance of the Vice President's office with technical support from Imperial College's Partnership for Child Development, the programme is currently working with 22 state governments to provide providing meals in over 50.000 schools. The target is for a fully national programme covering all 36 states by the end of 2018.

Speaking from a special event in Rome convened by the World Food Programme to mark Africa School Meals Day, Dr Lesley Drake, PCD's Executive Director, and lead editor of the Global School Feeding Sourcebook highlighted the impact that investments into HGSF can have on communities; 

"The evidence shows that when implemented effectively HGSF is beneficial to school children, farmers and the community as a whole. School feeding supports the overall development of school children, increasing both their educational and health outcomes. By procuring food from local farmers they act as effective investments into rural economies, boosting agricultural production and incomes.​ 

These interventions have been shown to have the greatest impact on those most at need, acting as a social safety net to ensure that no child is left behind. "

With millions of more children set to benefit from his programme in the coming months, it is safe to say there will be a lot of Nigerians celebrating this year's African Day for School Feeding.

Find out more about Home Grown School Feeding


Anambra is latest state to benefit from Nigeria's National Home Grown School Feeding Programme

ANAMBRA HGFSP website cropA Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme was been launched in Anambra State as part of a national school feeding programme designed to improve the health and education of children whilst at the same time providing employment and raising agricultural incomes.

With the backing of Federal and State governments the HGSF programme in Anambra Sate will provide an estimated 77,000 pupils from primary 1-3 in 1050 schools  a free nutritious school meal every school day. The programme has been supported by a N53, 687, 900 grant from the federal government to enable 774 school caterers to prepare meals using food procured from local smallholder farmers.

The HGSF programme - a core component of President Burhari's Social Investment Plans-  has been described as a 'win-win-win' for the communities who are engaged with the programme. School children benefit from free nutritionally balanced hot meals; local agricultural economies benefit from being able to supply the schools with the ingredients used in the meals; and local communities benefit from the employment opportunities provided by the programme.

Speaking from Awka, Anambra State capital on the programme's launch day on 8th December 2016, the Special Assistant on Home Grown School Feeding Programme in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Dotun Adebayo said primary school pupils in Anambra were excited as the feeding started in their schools.

Adebayo led a team of Federal and State officials to some of the schools on day one of the HGSF Programme implementation said they witnessed the feeding in three schools in Akwa: Community Primary School, Awka South, Central School Ameobi, and Central School in Nibo.

"The pupils were excited and enjoyed a meal of 'Okpa' or Moin-Moin garnished with vegtables. The meals were prepared by some of the 774 cooks who have been recruited and trained as part of the HGSF programme. "

The Anambra HGSF programme is part of a wider national programme which is being trialled in 18 Nigerian States in 2016.

The Federal Government's national school feeding strategy, launched in June 2016, highlighted the Government's commitment to support effective state level programmes where States meet the federal requirements for such engagement. Under the school feeding programme, there are no pre-selections, but states/FCT have to meet the stipulated requirements.

To-date a total of 17 States have concluded the designing of their HGSF models through state-level multi-sectorial capacity building workshops. The 17 states are Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Delta, Abia and Bauchi. Estimated figures from 15 of these states put the numbers of pupils to be feed at over 3.4 million.

As part of this programme the HGSF programme team, which is being coordinated with technical assistance from the Partnership for Child Development at Imperial College London,  has successfully conducted food safety and hygiene training for over 25,000 cooks in 9 states (out of the 17).

The programme will be scaled-up nationally in 2017 to enable all 36 states and FCT to participate. 


Nigerian Government to implement national school feeding in next month

Nigerian Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has announced that the Government’s National Home Grown School Feeding programme will start providing free school meals to 4.2 million children in 11 states in October 2016.Nigeria's Vice President launches national HGSF strategy

The programme, which was formally inaugurated on June 9, 2016 by Vice-President Osinbajo, is part of a N500bn Social Investment Plan budgeted for in the 2016 Appropriation Act.

National Programme Manager of the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme, Mrs. Abimbola Adesanmi confirmed that the Federal Government  will being the implementation of the programme to coincide with the start of the new school term,

“I am delighted that an initial eleven states have announced their readiness to commence feeding of pupils in Primary one to three before the end of this month. ”

"We have supported the states to establish structures that would enhance the implementation of the programme. This has included conducting capacity building workshops and trainings for implementers and stakeholders at state level."

Mrs Adesanmi, who has been seconded from Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development, identified the 11 states as Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Osun, Oyo and Ogun.

The Federal Government will fund the HGSF programme to feed 4.2 million pupils of primary one to three in 2016, each pupil will receive a meal worth N 70 (0.27 USD) for 200 school days.

Vice-President Osinbajo said, “We will be hiring caterers and cooks in each state because it will be Federal Government-funded from primaries 1 to 3 and the state governments hopefully would be able to cater for the other classes.

The programme will energise agriculture in the different states because it is what you plant that you feed the children with. “

A similar programme that has been successfully running in the State of Osun has created over 3,000 catering jobs and contracted over 5000 farmers to supply school meals to 250,000 primary school children.

Further Resources


New research findings show benefits to both children and farmers of Ghana's HGSF

Ghanaian children waiting for lunchPreliminary findings of a 3 year impact evaluation of the nutritional and agricultural benefits of the Ghana School Feeding Programme indicate that the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme in Ghana can improve educational opportunities for children especially girls and also increase agricultural incomes for smallholder farmers.  

Key findings

  1. 12% increase in enrolment in early childhood and 7% decrease in absenteeism in primary education in school feeding communities;
  2. 10% of girls of in HGSF schools improved literacy scores;
  3. 33% of households increased their value of agricultural sales in HGSF districts

The impact evaluation was jointly funded by Dubai Cares, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and the Government of Ghana. Designed as a randomized controlled trial, the impact evaluation focused on an innovative pilot programme implemented between 2013 and 2016 to enhance the nutritional and agricultural benefits of the GSFP. The study design built on evidence demonstrating the value school feeding has for supporting educational outcomes.

Read more: New research findings show benefits to both children and farmers of Ghana's HGSF


Ghana Launches National School Feeding Policy

Ghana School child enjoying lunchThe Government of Ghana has launched its national School Feeding Policy as part of its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and achieve universal primary education.

The policy provides broad guidelines, strategies and institutional framework for the operationalisation of government policy towards reducing poverty through improved household income and effective local economic development.

The goal of the policy is to deliver a well-organised, decentralised intervention providing disadvantaged school children with nationally adequate, locally produced food thereby reducing poverty through improved household incomes and effective local economic development.

Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, the Minister of State at the Presidency, said the policy envisioned rapid national socio-economic development through a co-ordinated, integrated and accountable national school feeding programme delivering improved nutrition for disadvantaged school children.

Read more: Ghana Launches National School Feeding Policy


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