As part of efforts to continue the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) despite the closure of schools, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB), in conjunction with the Federal Government, at the weekend met some critical stakeholders of public primary schools to explore ways of sustaining the programme using a different approach.
Speaking at the meeting held at LASUBEB headquarters in Maryland, the Special Assistant to the President on the initiative, Mrs. Titilola Adeyemi-Doro said the Federal Government wants to continue the feeding programme despite the school closure, adding that the meeting was convened to sensitise the critical stakeholders, including School-Based Management Committees and Education Secretaries in the state, to take ownership of the initiative and make it realisable.
She explained that some Centres have been identified across the state for distribution of the Federal Government’s food palliatives, noting that the process will be preceded by the handing out of vouchers to parents whose children are entitled to the packages.
While listing the items in each of the distribution packages to include 5kg rice, 5kg beans, 500ML of vegetable oil, 750ml of palm oil, 500mg of salt, a half-crate of egg with tomato paste, the Special Assistant, however, pleaded with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the items get to the intended Primary 1-3 public school pupils already captured under the programme.
Adeyemi-Doro also pointed out that since the programme had not been able to capture all Primary 1-3 pupils before the statewide lockdown, the relief items would equally be extended to other qualified pupils who were hitherto not beneficiaries of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King said, “we have adopted the protocols and modalities that would be used in distributing the palliatives, that is why we are here today to ensure that we get it right; so that the stakeholders at this event can go back to their respective domains and seek the buy-in of the larger public.
While answering questions from some participants at the meeting, the Chairman disabused the minds of the various stakeholders that the process will be politicised, assuring that strict protocols will be adopted to ensure transparency.
On the issue of security for government officials and other stakeholders disbursing the packages at the various distribution centres, Alawiye-King maintained that the state will mobilise security operatives to all the centres for adequate security and strict adherence to all safety guidelines so that all international and local health authorities are not compromised.
Responding on behalf of school-based management Committees, the Baale of Marine Beach who is also Chairman of Apapa and Apapa-Iganmu LCDA Schools-Based Management Committee, Dr. Joseph Omobolanle Ogunmola assured both the Federal and State Governments of the support required to make the programme succeed.
He said, “We will work assiduously to ensure that the programme succeeds as Schools-Based Management Committees and Parent Forum in conjunction with other relevant stakeholders. I urge parents to cooperate with the officials that would be coming to distribute the palliatives so that the intention is not jeopardized.”
Speaking on behalf of all Education Secretaries in the state, the Education Secretary of Ikeja and Chairman of Conference of Education Secretaries in Lagos State, Comrade Amodu Hakeem Abolore, described the initiative as a welcome development that should be embraced by parents of concerned pupils.
He reiterated that since the advocacy at this period encourages pupils to study from home, it is ideal to support financially incapacitated parents, adding that the food initiative will assist in cushioning the feeding of their children and also aid the entire learning process of the pupils.