By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
As part of measures to reduce pressure of feeding families from parents, also improve learning and increase nutrition, the Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that its schools feeding programme is reaching about 8.5 million children across the country each day.
Hajiya Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, made the disclosure on Monday in Kano at a high level interactive Social Policy Workshop on strengthening capacity to ensure sustainability for Child targeted programmes in Northern Nigeria.
According to her, the gesture was not only aimed at reducing the pressure on families to provide food on the table for their children, it also improves learning outcomes and improves the health of the children.
“Enrolment of Children in primary schools has drastically improved. Many of our poorest citizens do not prioritise education, often due to lack of appreciation of how education can enhance the fortunes of a child,”She said.
UNICEF Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, organised the Workshop for 19 Northern states commissioners of Planning and Women Affairs.
The workshop was organised under the UNICEF New Country Programme (2018-2022), which was designed to expand the scope of interventions in social policy activities in northern.
She noted that the engagement of over 136,000 teaching Assistants under the Federal Government’s N-power programme across the country had improved the quality education being received by the children.
She said the school feeding programme was initiated by the Federal Government to address school enrolment problem and boost their nutrition.
“Our potential as a nation cannot be fully realised when over 40 per cent of our population are deprived of their capacity to achieve their full potential.
“Where we do not deliberately plan to educate and empower the our girl-child, we lose the economic potential of the the value she could have contributed the herself, the household and the community, not to talk of the impact of her knowledge on her children and generations.
She, therefore, urged the participants to find out why the northern part of the country was lagging behind on many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on health and survival of Children.
In his remarks, the Emir Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, called on State Governments do everything possible to ensure effective implementation of policies that will check child and maternal mortality.
He said the Emirate Council would continue to support to all government’s policies and programmes aimed at promoting girl-child education in the state and the country at large.