PCD Takes Part in West African Exchange to Advance HGSF Programmes in Ghana and Nigeria

Nigeria and Ghana Officials at the exchange visit in Ghana

In order to promote experience sharing and build on knowledge in best practice HGSF implementation, officials from Ghana’s School Feeding Programme (GSFP) and Nigeria’s Osun State School Feeding and Health (O’Meals) programme recently took part in an exchange visit where they learnt from each other's HGSF programmes. 

School Feeding programmes are a potent tool to transform an economy if actors play their roles responsibly,” said Francis Yaw Gyarko, Deputy National Coordinator for GSFP Operations addressing officials at the exchange. He continued, “It therefore befits us to invest in (children) the future leaders so that Africa and developing countries as a whole would be free from illiteracy, hunger and poverty”.

Exchange Structure

The visit, facilitated by the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), ran from 29 September – 3 October, and was carried out to meet one of key activities outlined in both Ghana's and Nigeria's Technical Assistance Plans (TAP). The Plans, centred on evidenced based research are also supported by PCD and effectively outline ways to implement the programmes with optimal efficiency and outcomes.

The visits held main objectives of exploring the benefits of the GSFP’s institutional model and to ensure understanding of the HGSF concept when implemented in different environments; with varying impacts shown on the education and health of children and the development of rural economy. Other objectives of the visit included building capacity of programme staff on planning, implementation and management, and supporting programme implementation to ensure a strategic procurement arrangement focused on smallholder farmers in benefiting communities.  

During the three day visit the O’Meals programme staff met with Ghana’s Honorable Minister for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and took part in various sessions with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Food and Agriculture. During these meetings, similarities were identified, experiences shared, and finally, strategic thinking ensued on how to adopt innovative approaches to ensure learning is put into action.   

PCD's Support to Nigeria and Ghana

Nigeria and Ghana Officials at the exchange visit in Ghana

PCD have been supporting the O’Meals programme since 2012 and the GSFP since 2011, during this time both programmes have experienced significant success. The O’Meals programme currently reaches  240,000 pupils in elementary years (1 - 4) in over 1,382 schools in Osun State. During its initial implementation a pupil enrolment increase of 22.6 percent from April - September was recorded. Ghana, which became the first sub-Saharan African country to half the number of people living on less than a dollar a day since its programme was rolled out in 2005, now sees that it reach over 1.6 million children from across 4900 schools. 

Speaking during a technical session on the exchange, PCD’s Ghana Programme Manager, Getrude Anaser Baiden said, “It’s our privilege to facilitate this learning visit and hope both parties find it useful. I also want to assure you of PCD’s unflinching commitment to support to the GSFP and also the O’Meals in all areas within our mandate so that the models for school feeding programmes reach their potential and objectives.” 

Participants were also able to visit a local school on the visit and to learn more about National Buffer Stocks (NBS), after meeting with a NBS Company. Lessons were learnt on working in partnerships as meetings were facilitated with the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) and Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). 

Looking Forward - Lessons Learnt

During a debriefing session carried out at the end of the exchange, both teams agreed they looked forward to further collaboration and experience exchange in the future. The Nigerian team highlighted that it had learnt more on: the health aspects of the GSFP and structured M&E data management, with focus now being drawn to the restructuring and reorganizing of the O’Meals secretariat, strengthening food vendor/farmer linkages and training food vendors on business principles and record keeping. 

The GSFP team outlined they are now looking to introducing eggs into their school meals menu and adopting the model of advance payment for caterers as observed in the O’Meals programme and the team also expressed the desire to visit the O’Meals programme in Osun state, Nigeria.

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