The federal government, through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has handed over 150,000 feeding utensils to the Jigawa State Government for the use of the benefitting pupils of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Program (NHGSFP).
According to a statement on Monday, signed by the Deputy Director of Information, Rhoda Iliya ishaku, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Nura Alkali, said that, in Jigawa State alone, feeding is taking place in 2,180 primary schools, involving 490,874 pupils, 5,267 cooks in 27 LGA across the state.
He said: “We are here today to hand over about 150,000 feeding utensils to the Jigawa State Government for the use of the benefitting pupils Of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Program. This is in addition to the over 500,000 feeding utensils the FG provided to the Jigawa State School Feeding Program in 2018.
“As we may all know, the NHGSFP is one of the 4 key interventions of the Federal Government, under the National Social Investment Program which seeks to boost school enrollment, child nutrition and local economic activities across thousands of communities in the country.
“This program at its core is designed to address poverty in all its forms and is a collaboration between the FG and States where the FG is responsible for the release of funds, guidelines, policies, and monitoring, while the states carry out the day-to-day implementation including procurement of food items, selection of cooks and vendors who prepare, cook and serve the meals for the pupils.
“The benefits of this program and its impact on the lives and livelihood of individuals, groups and communities is clear, evident and undeniable. While addressing cross cutting issues of hunger, malnutrition and poverty, we have thus far recorded over 9 million pupils on the program being fed by over 100,000 cooks across the nation. In Jigawa State alone, feeding is taking place in 2,180 primary schools, involving 490,874 pupils, 5,267 cooks in 27 LGA across the state.
“In 2019, when the Ministry was created, we set out to strengthen the Program with a view to make is sustainable and institutionalized into the structure of Government’s social protection mechanism. We identified the strategic areas in the program that needed to be reviewed to accommodate current realities. Some key areas identified include improving meal quality, capacity development of all actors in the value chain, building strategic partnerships to achieve sustainability and many other areas.”
He added: “We are pleased to note that we have also commenced deployment of interventions within the National Home-Grown School Feeding Program that will address the identified gaps including a nationwide enumeration exercise across the Nation with the objective of verifying the existing data, upgrading the quality of data, and updating our records to accommodate the scaling up of the program with an additional 5 million beneficiaries as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Additionally an operational review is underway, fully supported by experts and technical partners to ensure sure that this program succeeds in its objectives and capitalizes on gains and benefits such as women empowerment, supporting the education of the girl child, creating employment, and improving intergovernmental collaboration.
“Furthermore, we have deployed an extensive, layered and technology-supported monitoring system that will give us real time information of how the program is being implemented and the areas that need urgent intervention and correction.
“Thus, this intervention today is only one out of the several strategic plans of our Ministry that seeks to ensure that the target pupils have the best experience of hygiene and safety during their consumption of these free meals. It is our fervent hope and appeal that these items are put the use they were provided for so that these children benefit more from these interventions that we collectively provide.
“On our own part, I wish to assure that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will continue to improve service delivery on all its social interventions and our leadership role on the National Home-Grown school feeding program.”
Also speaking, the Governor of Jigawa state, Muhammadu Baduru Abubakar, appreciated the efforts of the federal government in tackling poverty in the state through NSIP, but pleaded for more assistance.
He said: “I want to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for his relentless effort in tackling poverty and support for Jigawa state through N-Power, TraderMoni, FarmerMoni, CCT, School Feeding programme and other initiatives. We have been doing our best as a state to move up a bit, but from statistics, we are still among the poor states in Nigeria and need more support and intervention from the federal government. He has done a lot for us in education.
“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is very unique because it touches the lives of the poor and vulnerable. It is very close to the people and has been doing its best for Jigawa people even in hard-to-reach areas. On our part, we will continue to support the ministry and the Federal goverment for better delivery of its mandates.”