A former Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Bampoe Addo, says the next National Democratic Congress government will extend the school feeding programme to private schools.
According to her, the previous Mahama government created jobs for close to five thousand caterers and had over three hundred thousand children under the programme.
In an interview with Citi News, the NDC manifesto spokesperson on Gender and Social Protection programmes, Nana Oye Bampoe Addo, said the number of public schools under the school feeding programme will be increased when the NDC wins the polls.
“What we are going to do is first to ensure that we cover all public schools and private schools in deprived communities and districts. In the coastal areas, we have a lot of fresh fish and corn, in the forest zone we have plantain, kontomire and others. In the savannah zone we have yam and groundnuts.”
“If you look at the objective of the school feeding programme, it is to use the indigenous traditional food produced in Ghana, so we are going to look at that. We had even started talking to the nutritionists. We have a department in the Universities of Cape Coast and Ghana, we will engage them to come out with a diet plan which will address the health needs of the children.”
“So first, the amount of money will be increased, make sure that the children have a balanced diet in their geographical zone and increase the number of schools and children on the programme.”
The Deputy Communications Director at the office of the presidency, Fatimatu Abubakar, says though nothing is seen about the programme in the NPP manifesto, the party is working assiduously to make the school feeding programme better in its next term.
“Since 2017 the school feeding programme has been expanded to include more underprivileged schools from 1.6 million to 2.9 million beneficiaries. For us to increase the beneficiaries to 2.9 million mean governments is committed to expanding and making the programme better.”
“The government will invest in the programme when the means are available; the NPP government is committed to doing to that. We have also expressed on different platforms that these social invention programs will not be abandoned. Even if you don’t see it in a futuristic way in our manifesto we are consolidating all and make sure they work better for Ghanaians.”
The demand for an enhancement of the social protection programme in the country follows an analysis of 2020 Political Party Manifestos on Social Protection conducted by SEND Ghana together with other CSOs.
Citizens surveyed requested that the government expand the programme to capture eligible schools that are currently not under the programme.
They also want an official document to guide the selection of beneficiary schools.
In addition, the survey said:
- Caterers should directly be supplied locally grown foodstuff from the buffer stock within their respective districts and communities to improve the income of farmers within their locality. Adopt measures to ensure that payments are released in time for caterers.
- Improve monitoring to ensure that caterers are not being overpaid. Provide complementary services under the programme (kitchens and canteens in schools) to enhance cooking and eating under hygienic conditions. The School Feeding Secretariat should be made an authority to control political interference. The programme should be streamlined to eliminate political interference.
- Caterers on the program should be recruited from recognized associations and not political affiliation. Recruitment of caterers in the same community of schools to ensure that meals are served hot.
The government currently provides GHS1 per day for a plate of food for a child.
The amount is considered inadequate to provide an adequate and healthy diet for child development.