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UN’s WFP, Nigeria Partner to Scale-Up Home-Grown School Feeding Programme

Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced a partnership to scale-up the nation’s National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP),

The NHGSFP, launched by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2016, was established to help fight child hunger, boost local economies and increase school attendance levels 

The decision to take the programme “to the next level” was as a result of a joint assessment conducted in the first quarter of 2021 to identify ways of improving, scaling-up and sustaining the NHGSFP.

According to a joint Press Statement by the Nigerian Ministry and the WFP, “Home Grown School Feeding initiatives promote nutrition education and better eating habits and encourage the diversification of production with a special emphasis on local crops. WFP is backing the next stage with a significant transfer of ICT equipment. This includes tablets with access to the PLUS Schools Menus – a free tool to help state Nutrition Officers design nutritious menus for schools. 

“The hardware will not only support the Ministry’s efforts to digitalize its monitoring and evaluation system, but also enable the national roll out of the PLUS School Menu Tool developed by WFP to standardize cost-effective menu development.  

“By 2021, this breakthrough initiative serves school meals to over 9 million students in 53,000 public primary schools, making it one of the largest school feeding programmes in Africa. It has also led to a significant increase in school enrollment across the country. Moreover, the programme has provided a much-needed boost to local economies by buying the products of smallholder farmers and providing jobs to more than 107,000 cooks from low-income families.

“Schools provide local farmers with a predictable outlet for their products, leading to a stable income, more investments and higher productivity. The children enjoy healthy, diversified food; this makes it more likely that they will stay in school, perform better, and improve their adult job prospects. 

“In line with one of the key pillars for sustaining the NHGSFP, several partnerships have been realised across various relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Government, which have truly strengthened the collaboration and cooperation for a more effective service delivery.  Key partners include the National Youth Service Corp, Ministries of Agriculture, of Education, Information, Trade and Industry, Water Resources amongst others.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, “the NHGSFP remains an important intervention of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Through it hunger, malnutrition, poverty, education can all be addressed. It is an investment that is fully funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria because of its sheer potential as a development driver. We at the FMHADMSD are here to ensure that this programme is strengthened and sustained so that it can continue to support the needs of the children, families, women and communities it targets. The technical support from the World Food Programme is therefore timely, relevant and well appreciated.”

In his own remarks, Ronald Sibanda, WFP Country Director for Nigeria said: “One of the best ways of fighting hunger and preventing malnutrition among children is to provide them with a healthy school meal. Nigeria is a good example of where the Government has taken the lead from day one and invested resources and funding into the design and implementation of its National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. This is a great initiative and WFP is very pleased to provide technical support for the Government of Nigeria.”

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