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The Minister of Local Government and Rural Affairs, together with development partners, launched a new GHS 6.8 million Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme which will improve the health, education and nutrition of over 320,000 school-age children in Ghana and the communities in which they live.
The four year programme funded by Dubai Cares will see the Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College London supporting the Government of Ghana in its efforts to improve the nutritional intake of children living in poverty and food insecurity through the provision of healthy school meals.
The new programme builds on the ongoing success of the Ghanaian Government’s School Feeding Programme which already feeds over a million children every school day.
Children who are fed at school have higher attendance rates, suffer less from absenteeism and are more likely to concentrate whilst they are at school. There are few greater impediments to an education than an empty belly.
However, just filling children up is not enough. To protect them from malnutrition, anemia, and infection, programmes need to ensure they are feeding children healthy nutritious food, containing the necessary micronutrients and vitamins - they need to make sure that children are not infected with parasitic worms and to make sure that parents understand what the nutritional needs are in order to ensure that their children grow to be strong and healthy.
The new initiative looks to meet these needs by focusing on three main areas:
Speaking at the launch Dr Lesley Drake, Executive Director, Partnership for Child Development said, "This generous support from Dubai Cares to Ghana will make a real difference to the health, nutrition and education of school aged children and the communities in which they live. The Ghana School Feeding Programme provides an excellent example of good practice and this funding will undoubtedly strengthen the platform for sustainable Home Grown School Feeding Programmes across the continent, benefitting millions of children and farmers. Today is a good day for school-age children and for smallholder farmers."
Tariq Al Gur, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares alsocommented, "This programme will not only benefit school children, but marginal rural communities as well since the commodities required for producing the nutritious meals for school children will be procured from local farmers. This creates a self-sustaining cycle in which students receive the nutrition they need and household incomes increase."
The Ghanaian School Feeding Programme (GSFP) will also focus on ensuring the programme’s sustainability by improving in-country management capacity and promoting cost effective delivery systems that can result in increased programme efficiency for the long term. This combination of effective delivery and increased capacity will enable the programme to be further scaled up in the future.
The programme was officially launched by the Hon. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo Minister for Local Government and Rural Affairs, Mr Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive of Dubai Cares and Dr Lesley Drake, the Partnership for Child Development to an audience of representatives from Ghanaian Ministries of Health, Education and Agriculture and representatives from the development community.
As part of the launch representatives of participant organisations visited local farms and schools to speak to the farmers, children and the wider communities who will be benefiting from this new programme.
Read more on Home Grown School Feeding
Read more press articles onthe Dubai Cares launch for continued supportofHGSF in Ghana: