Nigerian VP with Drake.JPGNigeria’s National Home Grown School Feeding Programme has been formally launched by the country’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo at a special meeting of Federal and State ministers and school feeding stakeholders in Abuja. 

The HGSF programme is part of a 500 billion Nira funded Social Investment Programme announced by the Buhari administration to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable groups. When fully realised the school feeding component of this programme aims to support States to collectively feed over 24 million school children which will make it the largest school feeding programme of its kind in Africa. 

Speaking at the event. the Vice President said, ’Today we lay an important building block in securing our future by mapping out the implementation plan to ensure that even the most disadvantaged children are free from malnutrition.‘​

The Home Grown School Feeding Programme, which aims to provide free school meals with food procured from local smallholder farmers seeks to strengthen communities across the country by:
  • Increasing school enrolment and completion. Nigeria currently has a primary school dropout rate of around 30%
  • Improving child nutrition and health. Nigeria has t​he third largest population of chronically undernourished children in the world.  
  • Strengthening local agricultural economies by providing a school feeding market in which farmers can sell their produce. 
  • Create employment opportunities with jobs in catering, processing, farming, etc. 
To support and direct this programme, Professor Osinbajo presented a National HGSF Strategic plan which maps out how Federal, State and Local governments are to work together to deliver the programme over the next four years.  To facilitate the implementation of this plan the Federal Government is working with key partners to capitalize upon global experience and evidence of good practice. 

The Vice President in particular welcomed Dr Lesley Drake from Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development. PCD have been providing technical assistance to the Federal Government on the scale up of school feeding in the country. ‘Lesley is a great friend of Nigeria and has personal been extremely supportive of our efforts. We have constituted an inter-ministerial technical team which has the participation of our technical partner PCD.’  

PCD’s Country Director, Abimbola Adesanmi who heads up the inter-ministerial team, said of the launch, ‘Research on school feeding programmes from around the world shows that school feeding can improve the education, health and wealth of whole communities. The launch of the HGSF strategy is very significant because the roll out of this national programme will improve the lives of millions of families across Nigeria.’ 

Alongside the launch of the national strategy the Vice President also launched the ‘Global School Feeding Sourcebook: Lessons from 14 countries’, a joint PCD, the World Bank and World Food Programme analysis of national school feeding programmes from across the globe. 

Speaking of the Sourcebook, Professor Osinbajo noted that its launch ‘underscores the fact that Nigeria’s HGSF programme launches Nigeria into an international school feeding ecosystem with all the benefits of synergy and collaboration that bring’.

With a joint foreword by the World Bank’s President, Dr Jim Yong Kim and WFP’s Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, the Sourcebook documents and analyzes a range of government-led school meals programmes to provide decision-makers and practitioners worldwide with the knowledge, evidence and good practice they need to strengthen their national school feeding efforts.  A free e-version of the book can be downloaded from www.hgsf-global.org