The National School Feeding Programme is facing financial challenges, and in order to bridge the funding gaps, the Federal Government is actively pursuing a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). During a strategic meeting organised by the Presidency and development partners in Abuja, Dr. Yetunde Adeniji, who is the Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on the Programme, shared this information. The focus of the event centres around the theme “Public-Private Partnerships and Innovative Financing in School Feeding in Nigeria”. This highlighted the significance of school feeding initiatives in Africa.
In her remark, she emphasised the need for collaborative endeavours in order to develop innovative approaches that can effectively tackle funding deficits, maximise investments, and guarantee the long-term viability and expandability of school feeding programs throughout the continent. In her perspective, PPP offered a distinctive chance for governments, private entities, and various stakeholders to unite, combine resources, and establish enduring financing approaches for educational nourishment initiatives. Collaborating the strengths and knowledge of diverse sectors enables them to encompass notably more significant influence and enhance livelihoods.
Stakeholders explore innovative approaches for program success.
Their shared objective is to establish a definitive roadmap for attaining economic assistance, instilling responsibility, and enhancing the value and extent of these crucial initiatives throughout Africa. They firmly dedicate their efforts to discovering feasible remedies that will enhance the well-being of numerous children in Africa, guaranteeing their access to necessary nourishment for optimal growth and endowing them with solid groundwork for forthcoming success, Adeniji said. According to her, the program was essentially a crucial aspect of children’s daily routines.
Together with their development partners, stakeholders, and CSOs, they have gathered to explore novel approaches that can ensure the successful implementation of the programme. When effectively managed, this program can bring immense prospects to societies and communities as a whole. They hope to devise strategies to enhance and optimise the program, recognising that collaboration with the government is crucial since they cannot accomplish this alone. Collaborative efforts are required to devise solutions that aid the government and the nation. The president has also pledged to provide sustenance to 10 million children. To achieve this goal, an analytical approach is being employed, with the inclusion of critical collaborators who have played a significant role in sourcing relevant information.
Government aims to ensure children attend school, not roam the streets.
Similarly, the president’s aide mentioned that their office is actively promoting the concept of alternate learning centres and alternate learning kids, which are commonly referred to as the Almajiri system. Their main focus is to guarantee that children are no longer occupying the streets but instead are attending school. Presently, the Almajiri are found on the streets; however, they aspire to encourage their transition into the classrooms, where they can begin their education journey. Incorporation of the Almajiri’s is not only the sole focus; equal attention is also given to children in IDP camps and those with disabilities. Diverse demographics are being assessed to identify effective ways of integrating them into the program.
Moreover, the National Commission for UNESCO’s Secretary-General, Mr. Olagunju Idowu, emphasised the commission’s unwavering commitment to the school feeding program. According to him, the program’s success hinges on political determination, urging the government to involve traditional rulers in its execution to ensure favourable outcomes. Similarly, the Department of State Services (DSS) Director-General, Alh. Yusuf Bichi emphasised the interdependency between development and security, illustrating how advancements in one area can significantly reduce concerns and difficulties in the other.
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Mrs. Nneka, the Deputy Director of Critical Programmes Agencies and Departments who represented Bichi, expressed the complete dedication of the service towards endorsing initiatives like the school feeding programme. Their main focus is to ensure that young children are enrolled in schools, protecting them from potential criminal exploitation. By addressing this issue, they aim to combat security challenges at the community level effectively. Their purpose is to persistently reinforce collaboration with the government, in line with their role as a part of the government, in order to guarantee overall improvement for the nation.