The Ghana School Feeding Programme is still bedeviled with numerous challenges despite years of implementation, especially in the Karaga District of the Northern Region.
Major challenges identified include poor sanitation, low quality of food served, and delay in paying caterers.
These came to light during a two-day dialogue and experience sharing by community members, caterers, farmers and the District Implementation Committee, all of who play a part in the school feeding implementation.
The dialogue was organized by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), an NGO, as part of efforts to improve the quality, efficiency and transparency of the Programme.
Broadly, it formed part of a four-year project to assist smallholder farmers in three African countries to supply their national School Feeding Programmes with their farm produce to enhance the income levels of farmers.
The project known as “Procurement Governance for Homegrown School Feeding Programmes”, is being implemented in Ghana, Kenya and Mali and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The participants, therefore, suggested the need for caterers and cooks to be medically tested before contracted, early payment of caterers, community volunteerism and other factors to improve the programme.
Mrs. Fati Bodua Seidu, Coordinator of the Project, said the organization was interested in partnering stakeholders in addressing some of the problems relating the implementation of the programme, stressing that improvement in the project would have a rippling effect on education.
She said there was a baseline survey that was conducted to ascertain realities on the ground hoping that by the end of the project in four years time, positive impacts would have been brought to bear on education.
Mr. Sulemana Hussein Issah, District Chief Executive for the Karaga District, said the district has 27 schools benefiting from the school feeding programme noting there had been remarkably improvement in enrollment and retention in those schools.
He appealed to the national secretariat of the School Feeding Programme to address the teething problems to ensure efficiency and extend the programme to more schools.