Osun Takes School Meal Programme To South Africa; Showcases Before Global Experts On Nutrition
Experts from across the globe have commended the Osun school feeding programme tagged O’Meals again at the 16th Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum held in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, South Africa.
The Deputy Governor who also doubles as the Commissioner for Education of the State of Osun, Mrs. Grace Titi Laoye- Tomori, who represented Nigeria at the forum took time to explain in details the success of O’Meals in one of the sessions.
Speaking to over 250 delegates from 40 countries, including 10 ministers and 18 deputy ministers, she highlighted how the use of biometrics data capturing had helped to reduce issues of leakages in the system.
Laoye-Tomori also narrated how Osun has improved its economy by empowering small scale farmers, youth and women through the school feeding programme in the state.
According to her, “As part of the efforts of the Aregbesola administration to promote functional education in the state, the governor decided to feed elementary pupils with nourishing food.
“The programme has impacted positively on school enrolment with an increase of over 25%. We are presently feeding over 252,000 pupils which has increased the enrolment profile of pupils in the public schools.
“It is our belief that if the school feeding programme helps attract pupils to public schools, the newly built schools with the state of the art facilities which provide a serene environment conducive to learning will help to retain them”. The deputy governor told participants.
She however used the occasion to seek the collaboration of United States Deputy Under Secretary, The President of World Food Programme and the Centre of Excellence Against Hunger with the Government of Osun.
Other speakers at the forum supported by International organisations like the World Food Programme, WFP, Centre of Excellence Against Hunger, Cozinha Brasil, Social Service for Industry Brazil, SESI and the Department of Basic Education of the Republic of South Africa, includes, Genye White, the President of the Board of Directors, GCNF.
Others are, Daniel Balaban, Director , WFP’s Centre of Excellence against Hunger, Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, United States Department of Agriculture and Alice Martin-Daihirou, Country Director, Uganda, WFP.
Other countries that had earlier submitted briefs on their feeding programme were also given the opportunity to showcase and respond to queries on their programmes.
Countries represented at the16th Annual Global Child Nutrition forum included, Russia, Holland, Mozambique, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Uganda, USA and Sri-Lanka.
It would be recalled that Governor Aregbesola himself had been guest of the British Parliament last year when he was invited to share the experience of the Osun school meal programme and its mode of implementation.
The programme had culminated in another conference hosted by Osun which drew many states of the federation to understudy the Osun model with a view to adopting throughout Nigeria.