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School feeding suffers setback as 10 cooks die in Anambra

 

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Maduako Igbokwe l Thursday, June 23, 2022

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ONITSHA, Anambra, Nigeria –   Programme Manager, Homegrown School Feeding Scheme , Anambra State, Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka has disclosed that  the state has lost 10 cooks. According to her , the death of 10 cooks was a huge challenge to running of the programme in the state.

Uzoama made the disclosure while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a two-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria, organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), on Thursday in Awka.

She said that some primary school pupils no longer benefit from the programme because some of the cooks who had died since the inception of the  programme were yet to be replaced.

According to her, the school feeding programme is one of the Social Investment Programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, to cater for pupils of primary 1 to 3.

Uzoamaka said that the cooks were recruited from communities around the primary schools, verified and trained in food safety and hygiene by the national body, to provide the catering service in the 21 LGAs in the state.

“All the government primary schools in the state should be benefitting from this programme but due to challenges in the programme some schools are not benefiting.

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“Since the  inception of the programme in 2016, about 10 cooks have died and it is affecting the programme in some schools. It is only the national that can recruit and replace them, we have no right to replace them but we have written to inform the national body but they are yet to be replaced.

“Each cook cater to about 150 pupils and they are being paid by the national level. So if you do the maths, about 150 pupils multiplied by 10 cooks, are not benefiting, “she said.

Uzoamaka said that the high cost of food items in the country was also affecting the quality of the food prepared by the cooks.

“Another challenge is the high cost of food items in the country, it is affecting the programme and the quality of food given to the children. The cooks are really complaining and the high cost of food items is making it difficult for them to give us adequate meal per child.

“This development has made the Federal Government agree to increase the meal price from N70 to N100, but it is yet to be implemented, ” she said.

The Programme Manager said that the school feeding programme increased the population of pupils as many children ran away from private schools to enrolled in government schools

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