…Kicks off School Farm for School Meal Feeding Project in Select Public Primary Schools
Ndifreke Jacob, Uyo.
In a bid to tackle malnutrition among pupils from vulnerable homes, the government of Denmark in partnership with Akwa Ibom State Government and African Children Aid Education & Development Foundation, ACAEDF has kicked off a School Farm for School Meal Feeding Project in Select Public Primary Schools in the State.
The implementation of the SF4SM feeding Project kicked off yesterday, Tuesday 4th October at St. Michael’s Primary School, Abak Road, Uyo.
The project aimed at tackling malnutrition and unhygienic meals is currently implemented in different pilot schools across the State.
The schools were the project is implemented are: St. Anne Primary School, Ifuho, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, QIC Group School, Ikot Akpatek, Onna LGA, Govt Primary School, Idung offiong, Lutheran Primary School, Idung Imo, Eket; AME Zion Primary School, Idung udo
Salvation Army primary school, Ikot uso Ekong, Eket and St. Michael Primary School, Uyo.
Speaking at the kick off, Mr David Umem, the Executive Director, ACAEDF disclosed that the project which started with a preliminary hands on training on crops and fish farming for the pupils is targeted at 2000 pupils across the three Senatorial Districts is primarily to boost
He said, ”What we’re doing here today is the official implementation of the project. What was planted is what we will be using to feed the children. Today, we’re kick-starting the cooking phase for the children to start feeding from what they planted.”
On the criteria used in selecting the schools, the ACAEDF Director explained that the schools and pupils were selected from data sent in by the teachers through the State Universal Basic Education Board which informed them about number of vulnerable pupils who came to school without food.
While hinting on the duration of the project, Umem noted that the project which will run throughout the 3rd term, will be sustained if the project implementation objective is achieved, adding that at the end of the project, the BMI of the pupils which was measured will be compared for effective result.
Speaking further on the aim of the project, the ACAEDF Director hinted that the base of the feeding project is to encourage healthy living, increased attendance in school and adaptability to learning processes.
Similarly, the SUBEB Chairman, Mr Iniobong Akpan who was conducted round the school farm, fish pond, meal preparation and feeding exercise, expressed appreciation to ACAEDF for initiating and pushing for the implementation of the project in the State.
While assuring government’s commitment, support and continued partnership to the success of the project, he urged ACAEDF to push for the implementation of the project in all public schools in the State.
Also, he thanked the teachers for their selfless love and particular care for the pupils, maintaining that the project will assist the children to grow mentally.
On her part, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Idongesit Etiebet represented by Mrs Margaret, the Principal Education Officer who reiterated the importance of nutrition said that ACAEDF is “trying to step into the nutritional needs of the children.”
The Education Principal Officer added that proper nutrition boost academic performance, psychological and mental strength of children, noting that the ministry of education will continue to support and compliment on the good works the NGO is doing in Akwa Ibom State.
Expressing happiness, the School Principal, Deac. Victoria Effiong Jacob stressed that the project will go a long way to tackle issues of lateness among her pupils, improve academic excellence and increased population.
Responding on behalf of the parents, Mr Joseph Tom, Mrs Victoria Okoro and Mrs Blessing Archibong who all came to pick their ward after school, said they were surprised at the initiative, adding that the feeding project will ease the stress of preparing food for their children after school.