One of the social intervention programmes of the Federal Government, whereby pupils in primaries 1-3 are given one nutritious meal a day under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme was halted due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To commence the programme with the existing safe re-opening of schools, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB, in collaboration with the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP, embarked on a five-day training exercise for food vendors, food handlers and critical stakeholders in the sector.
The training, themed: ‘Quality Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle During COVID-19,’ is aimed at strengthening the food vendors in discharging their duties hygienically and efficiently.
The Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon Wahab Alawiye-King, stated that the training was held to sensitize stakeholders on effective monitoring of the programme, as well as maintaining proper food hygiene practices in strict adherence to all public health guidelines of COVID-19 in schools.
Disclosing that about 37,589 households of pupils got take home rations of food items during the lockdown, under the Modified Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Alawiye-King noted that the application of sound principles of environmental sanitation, personal hygiene and established food safety practices cannot be overemphasized.
He added that free mid-day meals will not only improve the psychological, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of the pupils, but also stem the adverse effect of the pandemic on the lives of the vulnerable in the society, noting that the school feeding programme has continued to increase enrolment and retention rates of pupils in public primary schools.
Applauding the Federal and state governments for their support to LASUBE, Alawiye-King declared the training opened and charged the participants to carry out their duties with all sense of care and proper hygiene practices.
He said, “Let us remember that the war against COVID-19 is not over yet, we must continue to take adequate preventive measures.”
LASUBEB member in charge of Special Projects Hon. Bayo Adefuye, said that the workshop was organized for the state implementation team, which comprises of officials from Primary Health Care Board, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Ministry Economic Planning and Budget, the six Education Districts, with Head of Sections, SUBEB’s Departments of School Support Services and Social Mobilization, as well as health officers from all Local Government Education Authorities in Lagos State
Alawiye-King welcomed all the participants and urged them to take advantage of the training for effective evaluation.
The food vendors were later presented their identity cards by the Executive Chairman.