Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has held this year's International Meal Day celebration at Agona Nyakrom in the Agona West Municipality in the Central Region with a call on Caterers to observe personal hygiene in the course of their duty.
Omanhene of Agona Nyakrom Traditional Area, Okatakyie Okofo Nyarku Eku X who made the call said it behooves on caterers under Ghana School Feeding Programme to ensure that the environment which they cook meals for the children have been kept tidy to avoid food contamination and its related diseases.
Speaking on the theme for the celebration, "Who Makes My Meal", Okofo Okatakyie Nyarku Eku X noted that the School Feeding Programme has been a blessing to parents and the general society adding it has relief parents of financial burden especially when children were going to school in morning.
He therefore urged caterers to ensure that they cook healthy meal for the children for serve the purpose for its introduction.
" Hinder to, most children who are benefiting from the School Feeding Programme today usually goes to school on empty stomach till later in the afternoon when their parents struggle to remit them so this programme is a God-sent. We have therefore embraced it wholeheartedly.
We are grateful to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo led NPP government for sustaining the program which has increased school enrollment tremendously.
Government is spending huge budget for the School Feeding Programme, I want to encourage officers working with Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection to intensify monitoring and supervision of the programme in the beneficiary schools to ensure sustainability of the project which is very dear to us"
In her welcome address, Municipal Chief Executive for Agona West, Hon. Mrs. Justina Marigold Assan commended Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Mrs. Cynthia Morrison for given the Agona West Municipal Assembly the opportunity to host the 2019 edition of International School Meal Day celebration at Agona Nyakrom.
" Nana Chairman, the School Feeding Programme since its introduction by Former President, H. E John Agyekum Kuffour in October, 2005 has undoubtedly contributed immensely in the improvement of our education over the years.
The programme which provides children in public primary schools and Kindergartens with one hot adequately nutritious meal on every school going day has improved school enrollment, attendance and retention among pupils in the most deprived communities.
The School Feeding Programme has additionally promoted an increase in domestic food production and consumption as well as increased the incomes of poor rural households in the country.
Hon. Mrs. Justina Marigold Assan added " Agona West Municipality has benefited immensely from this programme with a total number of 6,260 Pupils from 24 Public Basic Schools.
This and other interventions reflected at the maiden awards ceremony organized by the Central Regional Minister, Hon. Kwamina Duncan in December, 2018 at Cape Coast, where the Municipality received a number of awards in the education sector.
I would like to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for expansion of of beneficiary Schools in the Municipality from 17 to 24 schools in just a year.
However, request have been received from a number of schools especially from deprived communities. The Assembly will be grateful if more schools are enrolled into the programme in the Municipality"
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Mrs. Cynthia Morrison commended the development partners of the School Feeding Programme for their attendance.
She noted that the Ministry spends 90% of its annual budget on School Feeding Programme and Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) leaving only 10% for other programs and activities of the Ministry.
"This is why Government through Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is keeping eagle eye on every Pesewa that is paid to individuals or Groups of persons who works under the School Feeding Programme.
I will like to urged caterers under Ghana School Feeding Programme to be transparent in their books and adhere to proper bookkeeping because the Ministry will not countenance corrupt Practices.
Just as we want transparency in your books, the Ministry will also make sure every Pesewa due you is fully paid for your services. Let all put our hands on deck to provide the beneficiary Children with adequate nutritious meals"
Hon. Mrs Cynthia Morrison who is also the Member of Parliament for Agona West Constituency disclosed that the Ministry has paid Ghc 186 million this year alone to the School Feeding Programme for its programmes and activities.
"This is why government is ensuring value for money. This monies spent are not recoverable because it's not for any profit venture. That is also why the Ministry is making sure that the tax payers money is spent judicious.
As Okofo Okatakyie Nyarku Eku X, Omanhene of Agona Nyakrom Traditional Area has just said caterers must provide nutritious meals for the children because a healthy people makes a wealthy nation and as we all know these children are the future leaders of this country.
Let me use this opportunity to commend caterers in Agona West Constituency for their hard work and dedication to duty. I have personally tasted their food at various locations and I must say they are providing quality nutritious meals to children in their areas of operations"
She expressed the hope that celebrating the International School Meal Day would encourage the Ministry, the caterers and the general society to sustain the programme and to expand it to cover more schools across the country.
Exercise books, washing bowels, buckets and cups were provided for the four beneficiary children and the schools respectively.
Present were Acting National Coordinator of Ghana School Feeding Programme, Mrs. Gertrude Quarshiga, Deputy Director, Liaison for Development Partners, Mrs. Paulina Koranteng and the Central Regional Coordinator for Ghana School Feeding Programme, Madam Agnes Owusu.