By PHILIBUS DAUDA, Kaduna
No fewer than 1.5 million pupils of primary schools in Kaduna will be benefiting from one free meal each school day as the Kaduna State Government has kick started its free feeding programme on Monday in Kaduna.
Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, disclosed this at the launch of the School Feeding Programme for pupils of primary schools; held at the Aliyu Makama Road Primary School, Barnawa, Kaduna on Monday.
According to the governor, the initiative would also boost the economy of the state by creating jobs for 17,000 food vendors that are engaged.
“ 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.
“We are conscious that it would save parents break-time money, empower the women within the community who have been selected as the catering vendors and expand the market for farm products. 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.
He said the launching is a testimony of the change agenda of the APC, aimed at encouraging attendance at schools and promoting nutrition.
“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. It marks the beginning of a different phase of the Kaduna State Government’s project to expand access to education. We launch the programme today as a direct intervention in the health of our children, situating our schools as places to promote education and nutrition.
“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,” he added.