The government is seeking to adjust the feeding grant from GH¢1.00 per pupil to GH¢1.50 under the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), Mrs. Freda Prempeh, the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has said.
She said government would also expand the programme coverage to at least 70 per cent by the end of 2020 for more pupils to benefit.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mrs. Prempeh, said, beneficiaries of the GSFP have increased from 1,671,777 in 2016 to 2,700,000 in 2018.
According to Mrs. Prempeh, the GSFP is fundamentally aimed at catering for the daily food needs for most deprived school going children, so that, they could be healthier, well-nourished and not consumed by hunger or drop out of school.
She explained that because of the programme, enrolment in beneficiary schools had also shot up making the retention rate very high.
The Deputy Minister expressed gratitude to the government, management of the programme, World Food Programme (WFP) and MasterCard Foundation for their support towards the programme’s sustainability.
Mrs. Prempeh indicated that a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) on the Programme to assess the direct and indirect benefits had been held in Kumasi, saying that, the government was concerned about the nutrition, health, education, economic development, social protection and empowerment of women.
The CBA extended its scope widely to look at the return on investments in school feeding in Ghana. So that it would be appreciated as an investment in the future leaders (children) and not a cost burden on the nation’s purse.
She added that the President would launch the Cocoa Beverages Project to supply pupils under the school feeding programme with cocoa drink on each school going day, in addition to their regular school meals.
She also said her Ministry is also pushing very hard for the passage of the Ghana School Feeding Bill, the Affirmative Action Bill, the Aged Bill and the Social Protection Bill.
Mrs. Prempeh, however, expressed concern that the feeding programme was still bedeviled with innumerable challenges, which required the support of the private sector and other development partners to overcome, since government resources were limited.
“We specially acknowledge and appreciate the WFP for being a solid partner for the school feeding programme, and we hope to have other reliable partners on board, so that we can overcome most of our challenges if not all,” she said.
Collaborating with major stakeholders and institutions is key to the success of the programme, she said, adding that, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is going to enforce its monitoring exercise.
Mrs. Prempeh assured that her Ministry would collaborate with stakeholders and donor partners to address basic challenges under the GSFP and called on Management of the programme, to ensure that discrepancies in enrolment figures were addressed.