September 18, 2019 4:57 pm

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison has called on all especially caterers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) to integrate Standard Measurements during preparation of meals for school children.

She made this known to the caterers during her official visit to Abuakwa South Municipality where she and officials from the GSFP held a cooking demonstration at the Asiakwa R/C Basic School on 17th September, 2019. The programme is to monitor caterers of GSFP and also train them on standard measurements of food preparation in selected districts in the Eastern Region from 17th – 20th September, 2019.

Hon Cynthia Morrison also donated about 260 eating bowls with spoons on behalf of the Ministry and called on other benevolent individuals and organisations to do same. She mentioned that one of the main motives of the GSFP is to provide school children with one hot meal that is well balanced and also encourage enrolment in schools because some school children go to school on empty stomachs and this can also affect their studies due to lack of concentration in class.

In her remarks, the Hon. Minister said ‘Children are our future and everything we have as parents, hence forth when we are making decisions that concerns them we need to involve them’. She said this is very essential when formulating policies and programmes that directly affects them.

She also said she is aware that most of the teachers in the GSFP beneficiary schools are benefiting from the programme so there is the need for them to serve as watch dogs for the Ministry to ensure that the caterers comply with the standard regulations of the programme and if not the heads of the schools should draw the attention of the Ministry. According to her, caterers should not only be interested in profit making at the expense of the school children by preparing poor meals.

As part of the demonstration of new techniques in food preparation, the Hon. Minister demonstrated the preparation of ‘gari fotor’ with soy beans and vegetables. The Hon. Minister mentioned that school feeding will ensure foods that are grown within the locality of the beneficiary schools are used in food preparation.

Hon. Cynthia Morrison lamented that ‘In Nigeria, they mostly grow cassava and they consume ‘gari’ dishes a lot but in Ghana when ‘gari’, ‘kokonte’ is served to school kids, parents get offended’  as to why such foods are served in schools forgetting the nutritious benefit they may derive from the foods. She said it is good to serve foods such as ‘jollof’ occasionally but there is the need to serve more of our local dishes to the school pupils. Adding that henceforth, local foods such as the afore-mentioned meals are going to be introduced in their basic schools menu.

The Gender Minister said seasonal foodstuffs will be used in the preparation of meals and they should purchase the affordable ones that can be used to prepare delicious delicacies for the school children to balance the nutritional content of the meals.

Mrs. Morrison used the occasion to address the issue on the increase of teenage pregnancy in the Municipality. She cautioned teachers and men who sexually abuse these young ones that her Ministry will take serious measures against such persons because these young ones are their future leaders and nothing should hinder them from achieving their aims whiles in school and that they should desist from such nefarious acts.

She added that her Ministry will together with the Traditional Authority of Abuakwa South Municipality ensure that, if a girl gets pregnant whiles in school she is given the opportunity to further her studies after delivery. She also advised the youth to abstain from acts that will lead to unwanted pregnancies and also spoke bitterly about parents who do not show interest in knowing how their children acquire items that they did not work for.

Hon. Cynthia Morrison said the right time will come for these little ones to get married and have children therefore parents and teachers should constantly engage them in sex education to help reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies.

The Abuakwa South Municipal Director for Education, Mrs. Grace Owusu Addo also thanked the Minister for visiting their Municipality, she said she was overwhelmed about the Minister’s humility whilst with the caterers in the kitchen demonstrating some techniques in food preparation and it clearly depicts that the Minister has so much love and passion for kids and her job. She said this act of the Minister is rare and should be emulated by others.

The Ag. National Coordinator for GSFP, Dr. Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah was also happy to announce to the caterers that their nine days arrears for school feeding has been paid. She said the Ministry is doing its possible best to deliver on time and with effective results.

Dr. Afisah Zachariah the Chief Director of the Ministry also expressed her appreciation to the Minister for participating in the whole demonstration exercise and also preparing assorted meals for the children. Adding that she was astonished by this act of her Minister and thanked her for her continuous generosity.

The Chiefs and Queen Mothers who graced the occasion expressed their profound gratitude to the Hon. Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection and her officials for this laudable initiative and also called for more of such programmes.

The Ghana School Feeding Programme is advocating for the use of the Textured Soy Protein as an alternative source of plant protein for cooking because the animal protein is quite expensive in Ghana and according to them this will create market for the farmers and the local community.

The sector Minister together with her entire team also visited some selected schools within the Municipality and interacted with the students and their teachers to know some of their challenges so they can address them later. She also encouraged the students to make the best out of their education so they become good future leaders.

Source: MoGCSP

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