General News of Monday, 7 May 2007
Only 408 pupils benefit from School Feeding Program
dailyEXPRESS Editor’s note:
We have taken note of the reactions to the story on the school feeding program, particularly the concerns about the authenticity of the statistics. We do appreciate the reactions and will want to assure all our readers that we have no intention at all to spite or undeservedly criticise the government. The story was based on figures and details provided by the Secretariat of the Ghana School Feeding Program in response to a written questionnaire. Despite several weeks of waiting, we were unable to get any official to respond to the further queries we had to their written answers. Please find below the questions and responses provided by the Ghana School Feeding Program after they declined requests for a live interview. Thank you for your pieces of advice and queries.
Xoese DOGBE, Managing Editor.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS REQUESTED BY THE dailyEXPRESS NEWS PAPER ON GHANA SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM
Question: The exact schools and numbers involved in the exercise.
Answer: The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) began in late 2005 with 10 pilot schools drawn from each region of the country. There is a proposed plan to scale up the program gradually to cover 1.04 million primary school and kindergarten children in the most deprived communities and schools of the country by December 2010.
Currently, 408 pupils are being fed with one nutritious hot meal a day in 975 schools throughout the country. Some of the criteria for selection for schools include: Willingness of the community to put up basic infrastructure (e.g. Kitchen, Store room, Latrine) and contribute in cash or kind. Commitment of the district assembly toward the programme and the level of readiness and interest towards sustaining the programme. Low school enrolment and/or attendance rate and gender parity index High drop-out rate Low literacy levels. Some of the long term benefits of the programme are:
Reducing short-term hunger and malnutrition among pupils
Strengthening community food production systems
Eradicating extreme poverty
Increasing enrolment for basic e ducation
Promoting gender equality and empowerment of women
The immediate benefits include: improving the enrolment, attendance, retention and performance of pupils.
Question: Is it accurate to say that all school children in Ghana are being fed everyday?
Answer: It is NOT yet accurate to say all school children in Ghana are being fed everyday.
Question: If no which schools are the beneficiaries and what are the percentage breakdowns per region?
Answer: The GSFP is targeted essentially at children in primary schools and kindergartens in government-controlled establishment in Ghana. These are the direct beneficiaries of the programme.
A minimum of two schools in each of the 138 districts of Ghana are currently benefiting from the programme.