The Home-Grown School Feeding Programme will commence on Thursday May 14, 2020 in Abuja and subsequently in Lagos and Ogun states before other states of the federation, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has said.
It added that each of the 3.1 million targeted households would get a package valued at N4200.
The lockdown had led to the suspension of the feeding programme aimed at reaching vulnerable children with meals containing vital nutrients, but the President, Muhamadu Buhari, directed the ministry to set up new modalities to reach out to the beneficiaries.
The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that subject to the directive, ” The Ministry in consultation and collaboration with state governments identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring several options.
This is a globally accepted means of supporting children to continue to have access to nutrient rich foods despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding.”
The programme beneficiaries are “defined as children in primary 1 to 3 in public schools participating in the programme. A total of 3,131,971 households are targeted for this intervention.
“Each household will receive a Take-Home Ration valued at N4,200 and made up of 5 kg Bag of Rice, 5 kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750 ml Palm Oil, 500 mg Salt, 15 pieces of eggs, 140gm Tomato Paste. These rations have been reviewed by nutrition experts to ascertain the nutritional value and benefit to the children,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, states have been requested to carry out a mapping exercise which would make it easy to trace the households) of children using data including, ” School Based Management Boards, community focal persons, cooks on the programme and most importantly existing school registers in the LGAs where the schools are domiciled, which is the primary source of data of beneficiaries used by the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.”
The ministry added that there would be a second level of verification which would involve a “door to door voucher distribution,” while it maintained that, “The provision of Take-Home Rations will, therefore, be carried out based on data provided and structures put in place by the HGSFP over the years.”
“The Federal Government provides funds to the States for implementation following requests from Kwara and Bayelsa where the programme was not fully operational before the lockdown, the two states will be able to benefit from the modified programme once certain requirements are fulfilled,” the statement said.
According to the humanitarian ministry, more than 60, 000 schools will be used as distribution centres for clusters of communities.
“Employing vouchers which are QR coded, serialized as well as date and time stamped, identified households will be able to access Take-Home Rations from distribution centrepps. Each household will receive uncooked food items that have been assessed and approved by nutrition experts as adequate for the children.
The Ministry is receiving Technical Support from the World Food Programme (WFP). Following on the technical partnership with the WFP, a joint document on “Safe Distributions during COVID” has been developed and will be shared with the State Governments before implementation.
Because safety remains a collective responsibility, the Ministry has also incorporated rapid sensitization into all phases of this model, so that people are equipped with the knowledge they need to stay safe and maintain social distancing while accessing and delivering this service,” the statement added.
Meanwhile the ministry said, it had also, “been engaging partners and other agencies to explore options for those children who are not current beneficiaries.”
It added, “Going forward, there is a need to critically examine and review data management strategies so that when faced with emergencies such as this, there will be easy access to rich, readily available and accurate data of all persons of concern for swift implementation of critical interventions. The Ministry is working diligently to actualize this in the shortest time possible.”
“The ministry solicits the support of state governments in deploying security agents to ensure the safety of beneficiaries, sensitize the communities and programme personnel on the need to ensure that this intervention reaches the intended beneficiaries and facilitate the timely delivery of quality food supplies provided by the state aggregators,” the ministry added.