Ghana's School Feeding Programme - Using Evidence for Effective Implementation

Boy in Ghana eating lunchA New Mangoase English/Arabic School in the Akuapim North District of Ghana has joined 57 new government basic schools across the country which currently implement Home Grown School Feeding, supported by the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), Imperial College London.

This has been made possible after an impact evaluation exercise carried out by Ghana's Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), and PCD supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dubai Cares.

In a nationwide sensitization programme to announce the exercise, and also to seek the support of key stakeholders, PCD's Ghana Programme Manager, Mrs Gertrude Oboshie Ananse-Baiden said the impact evaluation exercise had become necessary to help generate scientific evidence on the impact of the school feeding programme in Ghana which currently sees 5,057 schools nationwide are involved in the programme.

She noted that the findings of the study would provide policy and programme level guidance, to inform the programmes scale-up, whilst meeting its three main objectives of increasing enrollment, reducing short term hunger and malnutrition and increasing domestic food projection.

Programme Components

Mrs Ananse-Baiden explained that the study would seek to stimulate behaviour change to improve consumption and utilisation of locally produced foods; as well as the benefits of education at the household level through sensitization campaigns, and facilitate a stronger linkage between smallholder farmers and the school feeding programme.

It would also enhance farmer productivity and small enterprise incomes and lastly, improve the overall efficiency in governance of the programme through the introduction of social accountability mechanisms.

Mrs Ananse-Baiden noted that the study was a two- year randomised control trial with two intervention arms and a control. The first intervention arm is the standard group where school feeding will be carried out just the way it is currently running. The second arm is the enhanced group where schools and the communities where they are located will benefit from a set of agriculture, health and nutrition as well as social accountability interventions.

The study, she said, would measure outcomes at child, household and school levels and that it will target 12,258 school children, 4,500 farmers from 360 farmer-based organisations, 58 caterers and 20 civil society organisations including media houses per district. As part of the impact evaluation study, there will also be a sub-study on the efficacy and acceptability of micronutrient powders among school-age children. This study would be carried out within a sub set of the enhanced group.

The National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Mr Seidu P. Adamu, said the Government was very much interested in the outcome of the impact evaluation and will do everything to ensure its success. He has therefore called on the municipal and district assemblies to be up and running to ensure appropriate structures and procedures were followed during the pilot period ensuring the project is successful.

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