By Edmond Gyebi
The Acting National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah, has revealed that plans are far advanced for the Government to provide cocoa drink to all the beneficiary pupils under the school feeding programme.
According to her, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would launch the new programme in August, this year.
Under the programme, cocoa drink will be given as breakfast to the children, before their daily hot nutritious meal is served to them.
Speaking at the ongoing regional capacity building training workshop organised by the Ghana School Feeding Programme for all caterers, cooks and district nutrition officers at Wa, in the Upper West Region, Mrs. Quashigah noted that the cocoa drink would help improve the health of the children.
She indicated that several other innovations are being introduced by her outfit to improve on the school feeding programme, especially the quality of meal served to the kids, the welfare of the caterers and how to expand and sustain the programme to benefit more Ghanaian children.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme was set up to increase school enrolment, attendance and retention and also reduce short term hunger and malnutrition, as well as boost domestic food production.
The training, dubbed: “Innovative Nutrition Initiative” is on the theme: “Improving School Meals through Capacity Building”, will equip the caterers and their head cooks to measure up to the required quality standards of preparing nutritious meal for the pupils.
Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah also indicated that the training programme was in two phases. This includes; the training of District Nutrition Officers on the use of a software called School Meal Planner (SMP) to generate local menus with quantities for use by the caterers and practical cooking training for all school feeding caterers and head cooks in each region.
She noted that there would be cooking sessions for the caterers and head cooks on the use of local ingredients to generate healthy and nutritionally balanced meals for school pupils that meet the daily intake of 30% for energy.
The caterers and the head cooks, Mrs. Quashigah said, are also to undergo food hygiene and storage, cooking and serving under hygienic condition, records keeping and use of handy measures.
All the caterers and head cooks who are participating in the training programme, she indicated, would be awarded certificates of participation.
“The goal of this workshop is also to deepen the involvement and participation of the Regional Coordinating Councils, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the Ghana School Feeding Programme National Secretariat, in managing an efficient and effective homegrown school feeding programme”.
Mrs. Quashigah, therefore, appealed to the various Coordinating Councils and MMDAs to offer the necessary support to the Ghana School Feeding Programme throughout the training programme to ensure its success.
She was optimistic that the training would inspire best cooking performance from the caterers for the enjoyment and health benefit of the pupils under the Ghana School Feeding Programme.
The next phase of the training programme, according to Mrs. Quashigah, would cover the rest of the country.