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29.03.2007 General News

Communities must be involved in schs feeding programme

By The Ghanaian Times

The Head of Programs of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) – Ghana, Daniel A. Ayugane has stated that community participation is key to the success and sustainability of the government school feeding program.

He explained that chiefs and opinion leaders were the pivots in which the development of every community rotate hence it was appropriate to involve them in the implementation of the programme.

Mr Ayugane also emphasized on the need for total collaboration among stakeholders to ensure its success.

"It is imperative that all actors recognise that collaboration become a key and compelling strategy if there has to be a meaningful achievement in the program," the program head said.

Mr Ayugane stated this at the phase-out of CRS school-feeding program dialogue meeting with district chief executives and district directors of the Ghana Education Service in Tamale on Tuesday, March 27, 2007.

The meeting offered the official of the CRS the opportunity to share some of the experience gained with the government school feeding program officers.

This, according to him is to help sustain the laudable programme aimed at encouraging every parent to enroll his or her child in formal education.

Mr Ayugane mentioned that CRS school-feeding program will be phasing out in September t his year but before its final withdrawal they would ensure that the gains made in the field is sustained by the government.

He stated that naturally the phasing of the program would not sound palatable to the community and other stakeholders but maintained there was nothing they could do since donors were shaping their focus to supporting emergency in the development country.

Mr Ayugane conceded that the withdrawing of the CRS school feeding would have negative impacts on the children's education in some communities. However the dialogue forum would help put in strategies to minimise any such negative impact.

He emphasized that the child or children remain a central focus of the CRS interventions hence it would do everything possible to support government school feeding program.

Mr Ayugane stated that though the CRS was phasing out of its school feeding program other programs like HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation agribusiness, peace-building and conflict transformation would vigorously be pursued.

Food Aid Specialist of USAID-Ghana, Alfred Osei said though USAID is withdrawing its support from CRS school feeding program it remain committed to empowering Ghanaians for development through the bilateral programs.

The Program Assistant of the government school-feeding program, Samuel Kobine Olu stated that government regret about the phasing of the CRS programme and would ensure that provision of one hot nutritional meal a day with the locally produced food for kindergarten and primary 1-6 pupils was maintained.

He mentioned that the programme which started with only ten schools one in every region has scaled up to 975 schools and soon every primary schools in the country would benefit from it.

Source: The Ghanaian Times