inister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has revealed that government will expand the school feeding programme by 30 per cent which will increase enrolment from 1,671,777 to 2,173,310.
To keep the programme alive, she disclosed that her ministry has so far paid GHS210.8 million to caterers and recently received GHS100million to pay for additional 44 days of the second term which will be disbursed in due course.
This came to light when she appeared before parliament to brief the house on the progress of the School Feeding Programme and also answer a question posed by MP for Bole/Bamboi, Yusuf Sulemana.
“The ministry will embark on a 30 per cent expansion on the programme which will increase the enrolment from 1,671,777 to 2,173,310. Additionally, the ministry is working on the development of an appropriate legal framework to establish an agency or authority to secure the gains and ensure reliable and consistent funds with the view to positioning the school feeding programme as a vehicle to reducing poverty and hunger and increasing national development,” she stated.
The Gender Minister identified funding as a major challenge for the progress of the school feeding programme and, therefore, called on corporate bodies to support it.
She said: “One key challenge is funding, however, the ministry has been working hard through the Ministry of Finance to find lasting flow of funds. Mr Speaker, the ministry is collaborating with some private organisations and civil society groups through a public-private partnership to continue to support the programme,” adding that: “As part of corporate social responsibility, we welcome contributions and support from corporate entities like Unilever, Ghana lotteries, GETFund and other local authorities.”
The Ghana School Feeding Programme has been in existence since 2005 in response to the first and second Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and achieving universal primary education.
The idea of the programme is to provide children in public primary schools and kindergartens with one nutritious meal a day, prepared from locally-grown foodstuffs.