March 16, 2019 2:08 pm

On Friday 15th March 2019, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP), celebrated the ‘2019 International Meal Day’ – a day celebrated on every 15th March – with the Pupils, Chiefs and People of Nyakrom in the Agona West Municipality of the Central Region.

The commemoration was on the theme ‘Who makes my Meal’.

The International School Meal Day is a campaign that aims at promoting good nutrition for all children regardless of their circumstances. In order for children to achieve and learn in school, the day is marked every year all over the world to raise awareness on the importance of the nutritional quality of school meal programmes worldwide and emphasize the connection between healthy eating, education and better learning.

Speaking at the event, the Minister for MoGCSP, Hon, Cynthia Mamle Morrison said that it was important for school children’s meals should be cooked properly so that young people can learn suitably in school and develop a healthy eating habit.

For the passionate benefit of school children, the Honourable Minister charged caterers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) to ensure they put the interest of the beneficiary children first. She urged them to prepare meals that are as delicious and nutritive as what they would prepare for their own kids at home.

Hon. Cynthia Morrison also cautioned the caterers to know that, they would be judged by God for every pesewa they received and expended in the name of the deprived pupils under the school feeding programme, a comment which attracted endless applauds from chiefs and other patrons.

“If you use better ingredients to prepare better meal for these poor children that you don’t know whether they have parents or not, and treat them like you treat your own biological children, then God will bless you, but if you try to cheat the system for your personal gains at the expense of these vulnerable children…I will not say it with my mouth, but I believe we all can predict what will befall you.” She said.

The Gender Minister used the occasion to challenge pupils in the Agona West Municipality to learn very hard and become responsible citizens. According to her, one of the topmost priorities of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led Government is to ensure all Ghanaian children are given free quality education from basic to senior high to enable them develop their potentials.

She assured them of Government’s commitment to sustain and improve on the Ghana School Feeding Programme to benefit more deprived children. Mrs. Morrison donated 1,200 eating bowls and cups, veronica buckets to improve handwashing in the beneficiary schools as well as over 2,000 notebooks for the children.

Mrs. Justina Marygold Assan, MCE of Agona West said that since the introduction of the School Feeding Program in 2005 by the ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor, learning and development among school children has improved significantly and school enrollment has also increased. According to her, 24 public basic schools and 6,260 school children have benefitted from the initiative in Agona West since the conception of the school feeding program in 2005. She lauded the Gender Minister, Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison, for deciding to observe the maiden commemoration of the event in Ghana at Nyaakrom.

The Acting National Coordinator of the GSFP, Mrs. Quashigah lauded the caterers in the various schools and asked them patronize locally grown foodstuffs to promote the local agriculture industry.                                                                                                              

According to a representative of the World Food Program (WFP), Ghana is the only country in West Africa that been able to successfully maintain the school feeding program and by so doing, has become a shining example among its contemporaries.

Nevertheless, a study carried out in 2017 revealed low level of nutrition provided for school children. To address this, the WFP in partnership with PCD have started to provide support in the farming areas, Nutrition Training of District School Feeding Stakeholders and District Menu Planning.

Other partners who sponsored the event were Partnership for Child Development (PCD), Yedent Agro Processing Company and Amplifiers Ghana.

The nutrition unit of GSFP showcased the preparation of soy and egg fortified dishes. Dishes on display were kenkey, banku, waakye and palava sauce fortified with soy and eggs as alternative source of protein for the children.

Niche Cocoa also supplied free cocoa drink for all 1,200 school pupils present. The children were also served with jollof rice fortified with soy. Amplifies served 1,500 table eggs to pupils. Also on display by Amplifies was egg fortified dishes like egg mportoportor (egg and yam portage). The Minister for Gender, Cynthia Morrison showcased her respect and love for tradition and culture as she blended the international celebration with traditional dance performances to the admiration of large number of chiefs and development partners present.

Source: MoGCSP

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