The Acting National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), has disclosed that from early part of June 2019, caterers and cooks would undergo intensive training and capacity building, to sharpen their cooking skills.
The training Dr Gertrude Quashigah indicated, would enable the caterers to improve on the nutritional, hygiene and quality standards in the preparation of meals for school children to keep them healthy and active to learn at all times.
Speaking in an interview in Accra, Dr Quashigah said, the training would also target the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Coordinators and District Desk Officers (DDOs) to play their supervisory roles effectively.
With funding from the World Food Programme (WFP) and technical support from the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) and YEDENT, the training programme according to her would mark the beginning of the new face of the Ghana School Feeding Programme.
She said that several other measures are being introduced to improve the Programme nationwide.
Some major challenges facing the programme in almost all the districts are the lack of kitchen space, dining space, eating bowls for children, refrigerators for excess food storage, water storage facilities and modern cooking tools among others.
She disclosed that the Gender Ministry led by Cynthia Mamle Morrison and School Feeding Secretariat were taking strategic steps to get the various District Assemblies, the Private Sector, Religious and Civil Society Organisations as well as other development partners, to support the programme to address the aforementioned challenges.
She indicated that apart from its core mandate of providing one hot nutritious meal on every school day for deprived children, increasing enrollment and retention, the GSFP is going to create more direct and indirect employment for many Ghanaians to boost the local economy.
She noted that under the Home Grown School Feeding, the consumption of locally produced foodstuffs by local farmers would be vigorously enforced.
Dr Quashigah said the Management of the Ghana School Feeding Programme would ensure that the caterers buy from the local farmers at all times so that they will also continue to produce more.
“It is just a matter of letting the farmers especially those under the Planting for Food and Jobs know exactly what kind of crops the caterers need to prepare meals for the children so that the farmers can cultivate them accordingly. In this way more jobs will be created for the farmers, transport owners, drivers, loading boys etc,” she stated.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme now benefits over 2.8 million pupils in 9,495 deprived schools. It has also employed over 9,700 caterers and 19,400 cooks.