No cooks for school-feeding programme: Ilukena

17 Jul 2014 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUL (NAMPA) - There are no permanent cooks to prepare meals for school-children as part of the government’s school-feeding programme, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education (MoE) Alfred Ilukena says.
He said this in the capital on Thursday during the opening of a two-day review meeting of the Namibian School-Feeding Programme (NSFP).
The ministry currently depends on volunteers within the communities in which the NSFP operates to cook meals for the children.
“We depend on the goodwill of our communities, and we have to find a formula and strategy for this challenge,” Ilukena noted.
He thus called on participants of this review meeting to discuss and find ways to tackle that challenge.
His statement follows an incident earlier this month when food for more than 3 000 pupils in the //Karas Region was left to rot in storerooms.
According to local media reports, the //Karas Education directorate dumped 394 12,5 kg bags of weevil-contaminated maize meal with an estimated value of N. dollar 150 each at the Keetmanshoop dumpsite before setting it alight.
The affected learners are from the EHW Baard Primary School at Noordoewer, the Krönlein Primary School at Keetmanshoop, the St Joseph’s Primary School at Gabis and the Oosterheim Junior Secondary School at Aroab.
Ilukena further stated that the absence of firewood at schools should not be used as an excuse for food not being prepared for learners, and advised managers at schools to approach their Education directors to source money from the funds of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) kitty.
The PS further called on the regional Education directors and inspectors to build relationships with their communities in order for these communities to partner with government.
The NSFP was launched as a response to the growing needs of school-learners who were affected by a series of droughts in the 90s, and today the programme provides a nutritious mid-morning meal to more than 320 000 primary school-learners in rural and peri-urban areas.
The MoE procures and distributes more than 6 000 metric tonnes of food per year to more than 1 300 primary schools, of which 75 per cent is locally-sourced.
The NSFP review meeting is being held with partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD).
It is aimed at identifying actions and steps to strengthen the NSFP and sharing, discussing and validating preliminary findings from the NSFP baseline survey held in 2012, whilst taking stock of progress made towards achieving the goals of the five-year NSFP Roadmap implemented in 2012.
This meeting ends on Friday.