A non-governmental organisation, African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF) has launched a school feeding programme to create a sustainable food self-sufficiency model across Nigeria.
The maiden edition of the project commenced with four public schools in Akwa Ibom to “provide 70% of the school’s feeding needs for the first six months of the school's academic session."
Known as Project School Farm for School Meal (SF4SM), it is funded by the Danish Embassy of Nigeria under its Sustainable Development Goals facility and is being implemented and managed by ACAEDF in Nigeria.
Speaking during the launching of the scheme in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State, founder and executive director of the NGO, David Umem described it as a transformative scheme saying its benefits would not only be for the pupils but their parents as well as stakeholders in a child’s life.
“Although our intervention started with government schools in Akwa Ibom, it is also pertinent to state that we hope to expand the project to other states in Nigeria. We are immensely grateful for the unquantifiable support of the Danish Embassy of Nigeria, they saw the vision with us and proactively supported the project".
“Currently, we would kick start by feeding 1,500 – 2,000 children daily for 65 days, this is approximately 97,500 meals prepared and distributed to the target children.
“Also, within the stated period, we would introduce aquaculture practice in primary schools and host knowledge transfer seminars targeting about 500 pupils within the select schools.
“The Training models would also include skill training for 30 fish farmers in sustainable feed harnessing, 40 teachers in improved school gardening techniques, aquaculture practice using improved child participatory techniques and 30 school cooks trained on improving dietary diversity and innovative nutrition”.
Also speaking, Poul Jacob who spoke on behalf of the Danish embassy said that “Under the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Danish Embassy of Nigeria is thrilled to be part of the School Farm for School Meal (SF4SM) project in Nigeria.
“It goes to reiterate our commitment to Nigeria as a nation and its people. The SF4SM project aims to address the pressing challenge of lack of access to food and proper nutrition amongst young children.
“We focus on schools as education through the existing schooling structure allows for learning opportunities for children and to also be able to have access to the children for our school feeding program. Looking at the model reflects a well thought thorough proa cess that allows for project/ program sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development goals of attaining zero hunger globally by 2030.
He said the Danish Embassy of Nigeria sponsored the project under its SDG Facility and would continue to participate and monitor the execution to ensure that the goal and objectives of the program are attained.
Representatives of the Akwa Ibom State Government who flagged off the project, reps of the pilots' schools, and community-based committee members applauded ACAEDF and the Danish embassy in Nigeria for initiating the project and pledged to give the necessary support to enhance the success of the project.
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