A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Connecting Gender for Development (COGEN), said it has trained 774 School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and community members monitor the Federal Government’s School Feeding Programme in Kaduna State.
COGEN Head of Programmes, Mr Ebenezer Omolekun, made the disclosure during the opening of a Town Hall meeting and training of SBMCs and community members in Kaura, Kaura Local Government Area of the state.
Omolekun said that 257 were trained in Jema’a, 202 in Zangon Kataf and 315 in Kaura local government arrears, where the NGO, with support from MacArthur Foundation, was tracking the programme.
He explained that the essence was to ensure the success of the programme in Kaduna state by ensuring that every stakeholder does what needs to be done as and when due.
“We equally hope that the meeting will enable us share experiences and what improvements recorded from the challenges affecting the implementation of the programme,” the official said.
A resource person, Mr. Titus Mann, explained that the goal was to ensure that the state government successfully implemented the programme in order to promote learning, enrollment, retention and completion of primary school by pupils.
[penci_blockquote style=”style-2″ align=”none” author=””]Philip, however, said that food items were expensive, which affected the quality of food supplied, stressing the need to improve and maintain quality.[/penci_blockquote]
According to him, the effort will also ensure transparency, accountability and responsiveness by all stakeholders involved in the project.
“Not much will be achieved without the active participation of community members and relevant stakeholders in the school feeding programme and other development projects.
“This stressed the need for effective mobilisation of community members and equipping them with necessary skills not only to monitor government projects, but how to mobilise resources to champion development efforts.”
Mann, a legal practitioner, enlightened the participants on how to track and monitor government projects as well as how to attract development programmes from government and NGOs.
Also, Mr Ephraim Yayock, one of the SBMC members, explained that the SBMCs could not properly monitor the programme because they were not carried along in the planning process of the programme.
Yayock said that the vendors antagonised them whenever they go out for monitoring, on the ground that they are not SBMCS employees and as such not answerable to them.
Earlier, one of the NGO Field Monitors, Miss Kaliat Waje said that there was improvement in the implementation of the programme in the LGA.
Waje, however, stressed that there were still challenges with regards to the quality of the food being supplied by the vendors.
One of the vendors, Mrs Baliat Philip, thanked the Federal Government for giving them a source of livelihood through the school feeding programme.
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Philip, however, said that food items were expensive, which affected the quality of food supplied, stressing the need to improve and maintain quality.
She said that there was need for the federal government to increase the rates per plate of food to meet current cost of food items.
“Otherwise we will be operating at a loss and non-beneficial to the vendors,” she added.
Similarly, Mr Fredrick Jatau, Head Teacher, UBE Primary School, Tsauni Chitta, Manchok, acknowledged that supply of eggs had greatly improved, but complained that head teachers still faced logistic problem.
“We still bear the cost of transporting biscuits and juice from the Education Secretary’s office to our respective schools. We were only given N200 for transportation once and no more,” he said.
COGEN is tracking the programme in 60 schools, 20 each in Kaura, Jema’a, and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas.