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April 21, 2024
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School feeding: FG seeks public-private partnership to address funding gaps

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By Naomi Sharang

The Federal Government says it is seeking Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to address funding gaps of the National School Feeding Programme.

Dr Yetunde Adeniji, Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on the Programme, made this known at a stakeholders strategic meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday, organised by the Presidency, in collaboration with development partners.

The theme of the event is “Public-Private Partnerships and Innovative Financing in School Feeding in Nigeria”.

In her remarks, Adeniji acknowledged the importance of school feeding programmes in Africa.

She said that it was through collective efforts and collaboration that innovative solutions would be garnered to address the funding gaps, leverage investments and ensure the sustainability and scalability of school feeding programmes in the continent.

According to her, PPP provided a unique opportunity for governments, private entities and other stakeholders to come together, pool resources, and create sustainable funding models for school feeding programmes.

“By combining the strengths and expertise of different sectors, we can achieve far greater impact and change lives for the better.

“Together, we aim to chart a clear path towards securing financial support, ensuring accountability, and improving the quality and reach of these vital programmes across Africa.

“Let us commit ourselves to finding practical solutions that will improve the lives of millions of children in Africa, ensuring they receive the nutrition they need to thrive and providing them with a strong foundation for their future,” Adeniji said.

She further said that the programme was basically an essential part of every day for children.

“We are here with development partners, stakeholders, CSOs to look at innovative ways to see how we can project the programme. It is a programme if managed well, can bring tremendous opportunities to every society and communities.

“We are here to come up with ways to help improve the programme and also help collaborate with government because we can’t do this alone. We all have to work together to see how to help the government to be able to help our nation.

“The President said we will feed 10 million Children. We are working with the data, we have development partners who have been instrumental in gathering information.”

The presidential aide added that her office was trying to inculcate the alternate learning centres and alternate learning kids also known as the Almajiri system.

“We are looking at ensuring children are off the streets and into the classroom. The almajiris are on the streets. We want them to come into the classroom and start to learn.

“We are not looking only at the almajiris. We are looking at children who are also in the IDP camps and children with disabilities. We are looking at these demographics and see how we can inculcate them into the programme.”

For the Secretary-General National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Olagunju Idowu, the commission would not relent in its support to the school feeding programme.

He said that political will was needed to drive the programme and called on the government to include traditional rulers in implementation to get the desired results.

On his part, Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Alh. Yusuf Bichi, said that developmental issues and security had symbiotic relationship where “improved development and security concerns and challenges are highly minimised”.

Bichi who was represented by Deputy Director Critical Programmes Agencies and Departments, Mrs Nneka, said that the Service was fully committed to supporting such laudable projects like the school feeding programme.

“At that level, we need to get the young ones in schools so they are no longer vulnerable to criminals who will like to exploit their vulnerabilities and continue to exacerbate our security issues that we have at the local level.

“We are here to continue to strengthen that collaboration with government as per part of government to ensure that our country is better off for it.”(NAN)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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