Osun: Free Meals Boost Pupils’ School Enrollment – Official

Mrs Olubunmi Ayoola, Programme officer of the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEAL), has said that the free meal programme in the state has boosted enrollment of pupils in public schools.

Ayoola spoke on Friday in Osogbo while receiving a delegation from Niger State on a three-day visit to understudy the O’MEAL programme of the state.
She said that the Gov. Rauf Aregbesola-led administration in the state would continue to implement the feeding programme in spite of the scarce financial resources available to the state.

“Through this programme, there has been a relative increase in pupils’ enrollment in the state public schools,’’ Ayoola said.

She said that the programme also impacted positively on the state’s economy as food vendors and farmers were empowered in the process.

In her remarks, Mrs Afiniki Dauda, Special Adviser to Niger State Governor on Empowerment and Social Protection, who led the delegation, commended Gov. Aregbesola for the programme.

She said that the programme showed the commitment of the Aregbesola-led administration to the welfare of the people of the state despite the financial crisis affecting most states.

Dauda said Osun state was a model to all other states of the federation in the area of O’MEAL.

According to her, Niger will take a cue from Osun to run a similar programme.

FG Delegation Visits Osun To Understudy Success Of O-MEALS (Photos)

A delegation of the Federal Government’s Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme, an initiative which aims at feeding over 24 million school children nationwide is currently in Osun to understudy the success recorded by the state’s school feeding programme, O-MEAL.

FG National School Feeding Programme Delegation Visits Osun FG National School Feeding Programme Delegation Visits Osun2 FG National School Feeding Programme Delegation Visits Osun3 FG National School Feeding Programme Delegation Visits Osun4

The delegation while on a visit to Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, expressed delight at the level of organisation and success of the Osun school feeding programme.

The delegation today paid a courtesy visit to the Governor, Ogbeni @raufaregbesola at the secretariat in Abeere pic.twitter.com/1i3HbLJiga

— Government of Osun (@StateofOsun) July 14, 2016

A delegation the national school feeding programme has been on a fact finding tour in three state for the past three days.

— Government of Osun (@StateofOsun) July 14, 2016

During their 3-day visit to the state, they visited the local farmers, caterers and of course the school pupils who benefit from O-MEAL

— Government of Osun (@StateofOsun) July 14, 2016

Kaduna Create 85,000 Jobs From OMEALS Model

Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, on Saturday gave account of his 9-months stewardship as the governor since taken over the mantle of leadership of the state.

The governor who gave his stewardship account during his 6th town hall meeting in Saminaka, headquarters of Lere local government area, revealed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has so far ceeated over 125,000 direct jobs in State within less than one year in office.

el-Rufai said the state school feeding programme created at least 85,000 jobs, including the vendors, their staff and supervisors.

He told the gathering that Dangote and Olam are in advanced discussions with his administration on integrated tomato agro-industrial projects around Galma Dam.

The governor added further that Olam has also decided to build the largest poultry and feed-mill facility in Sub- Saharan Africa in the State, with the ground breaking ceremony in April this year.

His words: “The Job Impact of ongoing interventions is over 125,000 direct jobs in Kaduna State within less than one year of the APC being in office. The estimates of these include:

“School feeding programme: at least 85,000 jobs, including the vendors, their staff and supervisors. School uniforms:11,100 jobs,rehabilitation of Schools:7,542 jobs, construction of toilets:6,285 jobs,solar boreholes:5,028 jobs, KASTELEA:2,550 jobs,Waste collection:6,700 jobs, Science and Maths Teachers: 2,300 jobs” he highlighted.

el-Rufai added, “Stallion group is to build a 10,000-hectare rice farm and mill in Kaduna in Southern Kaduna to reduce our dependence on imported rice. Other rice farm and mill projects are being implemented by many firms to utilize our zero-interest loans around the CBN Rice Anchor Lending Programme”

el-Rufai,who was accompanied by the Senator representing Kaduna North Senatorial District, Alhaji Suleiman Hunkuyi and other top government officials on a police helicopter for aerial view of the security in that part of the state said operations against cattle-rustlers, kidnappers and other criminal gangs are continuing in the affected areas.


Is School Feeding Programme Worth The Attention?

The Federal Government’s plan to introduce a school feeding programme for primary school pupils across the country as one of the ways of addressing the rot in the education system has continued to elicit public debate. WINIFRED OGBEBO, in this piece, examines this programme and what it entails.

Widespread poverty in the country has over the years made it difficult for many families to properly cater for their children and send them to school. It is in fact, the reason for the increased number of out-of-school children in the country.

Some 1,000 children, according to UNICEF, die daily in Nigeria from malnutrition. This is clearly a very disturbing trend and is unacceptable. Absenteeism from school has been linked to common health problems in children, particularly iron deficiency and anaemia which affect the quality of education children receive.

Malnutrition in Nigeria, and Sub Saharan Africa has continued to be a public health problem where the poor socio-economic condition has continued to work in synergy with it.

Established as affecting the cognitive development and achievement of children, malnutrition also results in low health status which invariably leads to high withdrawal rate. Any wonder why the northern part of the country where malnutrition is most acute, records the highest number of out-of-school children estimated to be 10.5 million.

Herein lies the importance of the school feeding programme which should be applauded and supported by all Nigerians.

According to a paper entitled, “School Feeding Program In Nigeria: A Vehicle For Nourishment of Pupils” by Isa Yunusa, Ahmed Muhammed Gumel  et all, malnutrition disorders affect more than 42 percent  of school children in Nigeria and are responsible for 49 percent absenteeism of primary school age children.

It said, “School Feeding Program (SFPs) is designed to overcome malnutrition disorders through regular school-feeding to improve the health/nutrition status and the education abilities of school children.”

Commendably, the Federal Government has embarked on this social programme and made provision for the ‘a-meal-a-day’ in schools with about N500 billion, with other states like Lagos, and most of the northern states following suit.

The programme has received the support of many Nigerians, including the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). Already, some state governments, including Kaduna, have also commenced the programme.

A lecturer in the faculty of administration, Nasarawa State University, Dr Sylvanus Itodo described the programme as a welcome development, saying there is nothing wrong in feeding the children.

“It means that we are going back to the old system. In those days, we were all staying in the boarding schools, there was nothing like elite students. So whether you like it or not, you must have to eat from the school feeding arrangement,” he pointed out.

Itodo, however, said he had wanted the government to declare a state of emergency in the nation’s education sector because it had continued to borrow ideas.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh has shed more light on the school feeding programme, saying the Federal Government is setting up a committee, in which his ministry may play a major role.

“We want to see if we can give every child a pint of milk a day. If you take the number of children in primary and secondary schools in the country, it’s about 18 million. We haven’t mentioned nursery school, which is 30 million. If we have to give every child a pint of milk a day, that is 30m pints of milk a day. But your cow produces only one litre compared to cows in Uganda which produce15 litres a day.  The private sector will run the show and the ministry will back it because the attempt the ministry made to run the 14 centres was a disaster. You know very well government cannot run anything properly, too many challenges,” he pointed out.

He, however, said government would not sustain the one egg a day for now for its pupils. “As for eggs and milk, we definitely do not have to give out by tomorrow. If we have to give an egg to every school child, that is, 30m eggs, which means we must have at least 46m layers on the farms. What this means is that as we announce this, we stimulate ambition among the farmers. It means there is room for more layers on the farms. It means the hatchery have to expand, we have to increase layers. In Borno, Jigawa and Kano, temperatures are too harsh for these chickens, so we have to design new ways of building the pens, because we need to produce70 million eggs a day to satisfy Nigerian needs and to get there, we have to produce more maize and soya beans,” he further stated.

But in Kaduna State where the programme was flagged off on January 18 by Governor Nasir el-Rufai, it has started yielding results. Contractors hired by the state government to feed the primary school pupils complained of the increasing number of pupils in most primary schools in the state.

This means the policy is already succeeding in attracting children to school as some of the contractors complained they were overwhelmed by the turnout of the pupils since the inception of the exercise.

They said the number of the pupils had been on the increase, surpassing the official figures given them by the state government. Not only that, the pupils were equally said to be punctual as they reported to their classes on time, signifying interest in their education.

Ogbeh talked about sustenance of the policy, recounting that two states, namely Kano and Osun had been running the programme since 2005 while Nasarawa could not sustain it at the exit of the governor, Abdullahi Adamu.

“Borno did it once and there was rush into the schools because there is hunger in the villages. But my ministry and the office of the Vice President are working together to put the programme in place because if you do not watch it, corruption sets in and even the teachers may take the food, so that even the food may not get to the children. So we must pray and be vigilant and let people know that if you are caught, you will be punished. But it’s a necessity. But like I keep saying, down the ladder, life is not good, so we can’t go on like this. During elections we give them maggi and win elections and afterwards they are left alone,” he added.

This is even as another lecturer at the Nasarawa State University, Dr Charles Nwekeaku questioned the rationale behind the programme, saying, “How many people are you going to feed? I think most Nigerian parents would prefer that you equip the schools. That money you are using in the feeding programme is misplaced. First is that you cannot guarantee the quality of food, second is that the money would not even be sufficient, third is that feeding is not priority. Parents have accepted the responsibility of feeding their children but what government should do is to provide the facilities and conducive learning environment. Government should provide highly motivated teachers and well-equipped institutions and fund them in research. So the issue of feeding is misplaced priority.”

This article was first published in Leadership Newspaper

Mary’s Meals School Feeding Now Reaching 1,101,206 Children

The success story of charity Mary’s Meals, which draws strong support in Ireland, continues to inspire the state of Osun in its school feeding programme, which now feeds above 250,000 daily despite its dwindling revenue.

Mary’s meal feeds more than one million children in some of the world’s poorest places every day they attend school.

The exact figure is said to be 1,101,206 – a number which is making an enormous difference to chronically hungry children by not only feeding them but also encouraging them to attend school and learn, thus giving them the chance to break free from poverty in the future.

Mary’s Meals began in 2002 by feeding 200 children in one school in Malawi and today calculates the cost of feeding a child for a whole school year in the places it works at just £12.20, or €14.50.

The Scottish charity passed the milestone of feeding one million children in May 2015.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder of Mary’s Meals, said that serving a nutritious meal in a place of education made a remarkable difference to a hungry child.

“In all of the countries where we work, I have seen first-hand the transformation that can take place when a child is given the opportunity to learn with a full stomach,” he said.

“The happy news that more than 1,101,000 children are now receiving Mary’s Meals is all thanks to the tireless efforts of our army of supporters around the world who give whatever they can – time, money, skills and prayer – to help us reach more hungry children with daily meals in school and give them the chance to thrive.

“All of these little acts of love bring us closer to realising our vision that every child receives one daily meal in their place of education and that those who have more than they need, share with those who lack even the most basic things.”

Mr MacFarlane-Barrow said there were still around 59 million children who did not attend school, with thousands dying each day from hunger-related causes.

“This is a scandal in our world of plenty, and lets us know that we have much more work still to do,” he said.

Mr MacFarlane-Barrow was moved to start Mary’s Meals in 2002 when he met a young woman in Malawi called Emma who was dying from Aids.

He asked her 14-year-old son what his dreams were: “To have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”

Letter: How Ogbeni’s O’MEALS Sustains My Relatives In The Village

By Mike Ogundele

Sir, I wish to commend Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for starting the Osun Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme and sustaining it, in spite of the reported cash crunch that hit the state and many others in the federation.

I have relations, especially in rural areas of Osun, whose children are still in school because of the free food served in public schools.

It never occurred to me that it was anything serious when I read sometimes ago that the governor was invited by the British Parliament to speak on school feeding, but I started having the feeling that something good is happening in the state when officials of Partnership for Child Development of the Imperial College in London and World Bank came to Osogbo on the same matter, not long afterwards.

I learnt that the children eat sumptuous meals every school day and this has helped the parents, especially the peasants, who are the majority in the state.

The interesting thing about the Osun experience is that it is inexpensive. The state government, I learnt, spends about N1.6 billion every year on about 252,000 pupils. This comes to about N50 per child in a day. The programme employs over 3,000 cooks and indirectly engages farmers and other food producers since, to be able to feed these pupils, 15,000 whole chickens, 254,000 eggs, 35 heads of cattle and 400 tonnes of catfish are purchased weekly from farmers and food vendors. This is empowerment for farmers and job creation opportunity for thousands of others in the state. The feeding is complemented with a deworming programme that makes the child to derive the maximum benefit from the food eaten.

The importance of good nutrition for a growing child is invaluable. A hungry child will not have developed brains to be able to have proper cognition in class and the psychological state of mind to enable him or her be happy in a school environment.

I am happy to read that the Federal Government is taking over the school feeding in the whole federation but my candid advice to other states is to start feeding their own school children and not wait for the Federal Government.

 Mike Ogundele,

Osogbo, Osun State

Following Osun Success, School Feeding Programme Begins In Ghana

Following the successful school feeding programme O’Meals initiated by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in the state of Osun, a district government in Ghana will begin a similar project in Akatsi North.

The school feeding programme which will cost the Assembly GH₵ 320,000.00, would benefit eight schools in the pilot scheme. The beneficiary schools are at Agormor, Zemu, Ashiagborvi, Ndowukope, Atiglime, Atsata-Bame, Wuata-Etekope and Amule.

Mr James Gunu, District Chief Executive (DCE), announced this when he led representatives of stakeholders of the Assembly on a tour of development projects going on in the district.

Happy Kids empowered by O MEAL

News Ghana reports that the objective of the district’s feeding programme, is to augment that of Central Government, to enhance enrolment, especially in deprived communities.

“We feel time is not on the side of the Assembly and a number of kids who are at home and who have to be pulled into the classrooms through the SFP,” Mr Gunu said.

The DCE and his team inspected a completed six-unit classroom block, an office and store for Agormor Basic School and also witnessed the functioning of the Assembly’s private SFP there.

He hinted that another six- unit block has been given on contract for the Agormor School.

The team inspected other completed projects at Afiadenyigba-Gbohohome and Ave-Adzido.

Mr Gunu said 2016 would witness the inauguration of many projects.

The project in Osun south west Nigeria, has increased school enrollment with more than 250%.

Kaduna Governor Adopts O’Meals

Mallam Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna state has adopted the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme known as O-MEALS for pupils in the state primary and junior secondary schools.

Elrufai-Eat Elrufai-Eat2 Elrufai-Eat3


The Kaduna version of the school free feeding programme will provide daily meal for 1.5 million pupils across the state.

Flagging off the programme at the Aliyu Makama Road Primary School, Barnawa, Kaduna, El-Rufai said the gesture marked the beginning of a different phase of the Kaduna State Government’s project to expand access to free education in the state.‬

‪He noted that the programme would save parents break-time money and empower the women within the community who have been selected as the catering vendors to serve in the various schools across the state.‬

According to the governor, “Today is a special day in the unfolding of the change agenda the APC was elected to implement. I am moved by the responsibility to implement the school feeding programme for primary school pupils.‬

‪”Every school day from today, the Kaduna State Government will be providing a meal for 1.5m pupils. It is an unprecedented undertaking in this state, but one that we solemnly pledged to do when we were campaigning. It is a challenge in terms of its scale, cost and the logistics required to deliver the meals everyday. But our children deserve this, and more.‬

‪”In fact, the school feeding programme is directly creating 17,000 jobs for catering vendors, each of whom will need to employ workers to help them deliver.

“Thus there is something for everyone in the School Feeding Programme. In seeking to take care of our children, we are creating jobs, boosting demand and exposing our people to new skills and hygiene standards and providing extra income.‬

‪”I urge everyone involved in the programme to discharge their responsibilities with the utmost sense of commitment, transparency and accountability. The monitoring mechanism must be rigorous, and we invite the school-based management committees and Parent-Teacher Associations to review and provide us their observations on the implementation of the programme at the school level.”‬

‪Earlier, Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology in the State, Dr. Shehu Usman Adamu, said emergency lines had been provided for callers to access the state free feeding programme.‬