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Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD) have started looking at how to improve schoolchildren’s health, nutrition and education in Enugu and Anambra States, Nigeria.
On a recent scoping mission, PCD went to see the states’ school feeding programmes in action, where opportunities were identified on how support can be provided to the programmes’ design, implementation and scale up, and how other partners and donors could be engaged with to further strengthen the interventions.
A Community Focused Programme
To date, over 700 pupils of public primary schools in Enugu and Anambra States, Nigeria now enjoy a free school meal every school day. In addition to helping improve schoolchildren's development, education and nutrition the school meals are sourced locally from smallholder farmers, securing them of a fixed income by supplying to the schools.
Osun State, Nigeria furthered its commitment to strengthen the state’s HGSF programme (known as O’Meals) by adopting three technical documents which both assess and outline how to improve the implementation of the programmes.
The documents - two case studies, a programme document and an M&E strategy, developed by Imperial College London's Partnership for Child Development (PCD) identify innovative measures that the state has and can introduce into the school feeding programme for its sustainability and productivity to benefit Osun State's development, as well as global learning on the programme.
During the document's sign off ceremony Osun State's Deputy Governor Otunba Laoye-Tomori said, “PCD has been a great support to the O-meals programme and have provided the opportunity for the programme to be known globally” She continued, “the whole idea of turning Osun programme into a case study for the whole world to see is gladdening and exciting”.
Osun State’s Home Grown School Feeding programme has launched a new pilot to combat vitamin A deficiency in Nigerian schoolchildren at the same time as promoting the livelihoods of local farmers.
Over 4,000 pupils are currently being fed Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) – a crop highly rich in vitamin A, as well as being popular among the children.
“I really enjoy the meals and I want to be eating it every day,” commented six year old, Abdul Kadri, beneficiary of the programme.
Knowledge, they say, is power. But in Osun State, under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, power seems to have changed hand. In the past, to gain knowledge, any knowledge, you would have needed to travel to the Whiteman’s country or land, across the seas, to practically beg him to share some of his knowledge with you.
But today, Aregbesola, has succeeded in changing the order of things with his O’MEALS (where O is for Osun) school feeding project or programme. The result is that, on account of his experience/knowledge, today, he is being invited here and there, to lecture those of us, Blacks and Whites, who find his achievement with it, something out of this world.
The supervising Minister of Education, Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has said that the federal government is considering the re-introduction of the HGSF and health programme as a component of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme to boost enrolment and retention in public schools across the country.
The supervising minister disclosed this recently at the opening ceremony of the 12th quarterly meeting of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) management with the executive chairmen of State Universal Basic Education Commission (SUBEB) held in Owerri, Imo State.
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