Why Kaduna school feeding program should be revived
The Kaduna state government introduced the free school feeding programme for primary schools in Kaduna State on January 17, 2016.
The program was designed to improve the nutrition of young pupils in the over 4,000 public primary schools in the state and to attract over 300,000 out of school children.
Kaduna State commissioner for education , Prof. Andrew Nok, said this is because ‘once the child missed the nutrient required in his 1000 days, the crucial stage in the development of the brain, there would be serious health, social and economic consequences.’
Within a year, the programme almost doubled school enrolment from 1.1 million pupils to 2.1 million. It also created over 16,000 jobs for food vendors, farmers and makers of food packs and boosted the economy of the state as there was more money in circulation.
By engaging many youths in productive activities, the crime rate in the state also dropped as most of the jobless youths roaming about the streets were preoccupied and made money for themselves at the end of the day.
It also increased the literacy level in the state as many could now read and write, while reducing the number of almajiri roaming the streets who enrolled in the numerous public schools.
The Kaduna state government however suspended the program in September 2016 due to lack of funds.
The state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai said the programme had to be suspended because the state did not receive the counterpart funding from the federal government on whose behalf it test-ran the programme.
But less than a year after the programme was suspended, many have called on the state government to review its position and find a way of reintroducing the programme.
What were the benefits of the feeding programme?
The benefits were felt by pupils, teachers, vendors, parents and farmers, among others. Here community leaders give their views on why the programme should be restored.